The first 7 hours are pure bliss.
I’m sitting on my 8 1/2 hour flight from Rome to New York, and imagine my surprise when they prepare for takeoff and I’ve got NO ONE SITTING NEXT TO ME!!! My OWN 2-person aisle. It feels like I won the lottery.
I make plans.
I write postcards before we even take off…because we taxi down the runway for about an hour and a half and are 12th in line for takeoff. Because Italy.
When lunch comes….I ask the flight attendant which option he’d recommend. He recommends the pasta with the caveat “but I’m Italian!”
This will be my final pasta meal until late 2023*, when I’m done doing penance for my dietary sins.
For my beverage selection, I get the hugest pour of wine in airline history. I am #winning.
I settle on a film selection: Sisters. And my endless love for Tina Fey is reaffirmed. But I unexpectedly cry — FOUR TIMES — during the movie. Not wailing or boo-hooing, but still…it’s an unequivocal comedy. I’m debating whether to blame the mega-wine or some dormant sadness that this mega-experience in my life is done.
I’ve now performed in a gorgeous, historic theatre in Paris.
I can still see the last ovation. The applause lasted so long they turned on the house lights, letting us see four stories of people on their feet… roaring, crying, clapping. I recorded that moment with my eyes. And I pulled close the Cuban actor standing next to me and whispered: Recuerda esto. Remember this.
Every moment is fleeting. And as I get (only slightly) older, the more I understand how it ALL passes us by. The good. The bad. It’s all bound for the rear view mirror. And that is bittersweet. You can’t hold on to anything. So I select certain moments to record in my mind. I’ve been doing this for a while. I’ve got an interesting collection.
And now this show is in my rear view, a chunk of my new friends are in Cuba, and I don’t know how they are.
And now I’ve had a whirlwind tour through Europe to see friends and family, accompanied by the blonde and my fella.
I got to see a friend in Barcelona I’ve not seen in 7 years who became a widow in the years since I saw her. He’d been my friend, too. What can I say here? To hold on to the good moments? That’s corny and impossible. I’m just trying to live while I’m alive. I didn’t mean to quote Bon Jovi. But it seems I just did right there.
In Europe, I got to spend time with my blonde’s friends whose friendships date back to pre-Revolutionary Cuba. And we ate home cooked Italian meals in Rome and sang and had conversations that went nowhere and everywhere.
It’s all in the rear view mirror.
On hour three of my flight, I take a short but deep nap.
On hour four, I listen to the entire Hamilton soundtrack on the airplane radio. And it makes me reeeeeally want to cry, and I give myself a headache from not crying. I wonder what my future holds. Or doesn’t.
On hour five of my flight, I offload and edit all three-bajilllion trip photos into my computer. The flight attendants offer snacks and more wine. I WANT to say yes. I WANT to want it. It’s FREE wine. But. I. Can’t. I think I’m hungover. Why else would I weep four times during a comedy and have a throbbing headache from listening to a rapturous Broadway soundtrack?
Hour 7 is rough. Now I just want to be there. I need a neck massage. I need a manicure. I need a shower. I need regular wifi. Not necessarily in that order. Also, maybe I need to turn off my brain? Maybe for just a smidge? My brain laughs.
Oh no. I’ve seriously miscalculated and have two more hours of flight instead of 30 minutes.
And that snack n’ wine cart is coming at me.
No. Okay. I was wrong. Only 52 minutes of flight are left. What did they PUT in the wine?
And then, just like that, my 8 1/2 hour flight is in the rear view mirror.
Just remember, objects may be closer than they appear.
*ate pasta 3 days later