It's always been a premonition of mine. That I would die on an airplane, alone. So, I avoid it when possible. But, now..well, if I want to join Bing in Asheville, I have to do this. Go on an airplane. Alone.
So, I am a prudent, practical person when all is said and done. I decided to clean up all my loose ends. Just in case, you know. Just in case.
CONVERSATION WITH BING THIS MORNING ON FACETIME
And yes, I did put on lipstick first. Fuck it.
Marie: Hi there!
Bing: Hey pretty girl! Are you looking forward to some rest and relaxation?
Bing: Ok. Do you have your reservation for the parking lot by the airport?
B: Printed out your boarding pass?
B: Packed all your meds? ONE credit card? Driver's license? Health insurance card?
M: Honey, I'm not Liv. I can pack. And yes, Winnie will be here at noon. She'll be here until Tinton and Liv get back on Tuesday. Everything is FINE.
B: How are you feeling?
Maria glowers. Doesn't answer.
B: Alrighty then. Right as rain! Want me to let you go? I know you mentioned that you wanted to go visit your sister before you left. Shall I just plan to pick you up at the airport? Will you call to keep me in the loop if there is a problem?
M: Yes. Yes. Yes. But, wait a minute. I want to tell you something.
B: Okay. Shoot.
M: You do know that you're the best thing that ever happened to me, yes? That I love you with all of my heart?
B: Holy shit, Maria. I know what this about. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DIE ON THE AIRPLANE.
M: I know, I know. I just...like to cover my bases, ya know? Can't you just humor me here?
Bing sighs. Smiles patiently.
B: I know that you love me, honey. It will be fine.
M: But, just in case.....
B: Just in case...okay if you kick it on the airplane, I know that you want to be cremated, well...if there's a body. (sharp gasp from Maria, who immediately tries to hide it) And let's see...no big funeral, just a tasteful little send off party. Liv is to be able to decide where she wants to live, with either me or Tinton and if she chooses Tinton, I will not make her feel badly about that. I know that you love me and you are sorry for all the many, many, many, many times that you have hurt me. Ok?
B: Darlin, you used to travel alone on airplanes ALL THE TIME when you were younger and I don't recall you having this phobia.
M: I know. It's just that when I was younger, to be honest, I didn't much care if I died. I wasn't....attached to anyone. I figured that what happened, happened. Now, well....I have you. I have Liv. I have Socks.
Bing bursts out laughing.
B: SOCKS? Our DOG?
M: Don't talk about him like that. He's sitting right here!
Maria looks down, smiles. Says, "Aren't you, big guy? MY big guy!"
B: Okay. Socks. Sweetheart, you aren't going to die on the airplane. I promise.
M: exasperated Don't promise things like that! You don't KNOW. And if anything happened, you'd feel awful. So take it back. Right this second.
B: I take it back. I don't promise nothing will happen. I am...fairly certain...that it won't. I'm fairly certain that when I pick you up in our gorgeous rental car, you will ADORE it, by the way....you will make me stop at a hamburger joint on the way to the hotel because you will have eaten NOTHING all day long because your stomach was in knots. So, we will run through a drive through and get you a burger and a shake because you will be starving and your blood sugar will be dropping...and then we will get back to the hotel and you will take a shower and let me get in with you to help...soap you up...and then we will go to bed and sleep after you make me check the bed TWICE for bedbugs. And I will want to kiss and cuddle but you will be out like a light in twenty seconds flat and be rather unattractive because your nose will have stopped up from the flight, so you will be snoring loud enough to wake the people next door.
M: I can't help it that I am just devastatingly adorable like that. It's a curse. Seriously.
Bing and Maria laugh then...a good we-know-each-other-like-the-back-of-our-hands laugh.
B: I love you. Call me when you can.
M: I love you too. I will.
END OF CALL.
CONVERSATION WITH LIV AND TINTON ON FACETIME
Maria has freshened up her lipstick. Fuck it.
Maria: Hi guys!
Tinton: Hi Maria. Liv is on her way. She is changing out of her pjs.
M: So, I just wanted to let you know that I have the fridge stocked with all your and Liv's favorites for when you get home on Tuesday. Well, if Winnie doesn't eat it all. She is kind of a hefty girl, you know....
Tinton: Thanks. We'll see you guys on Friday, right?
Liv's face appears as she sits on Tinton's lap. His face, behind hers, is content. He loves having her with him. It's all over his face.
Liv: Hi, Mama!
M: Hi, pumpkin! Did you have a good sleep?
L: Yes, I always do. Tinton and I just had pancakes for breakfast. Nirand made them. He's the best cook.
M: I know! I can't wait til he comes to visit again. We'll make him prepare all our meals...Honey, I wanted to tell you goodbye because I'm leaving today to meet Bing in Asheville. We'll still be in touch, but I wanted to tell you goodbye before I got on the plane. And...GOD, you have the prettiest little face. Doesn't she Tinton? Isn't she beautiful?
Liv rolls her eyes. Tinton grins foolishly.
T: Absolutely. She is lovely. Looks just like me. Crazy mad good lookin.
Liv giggles. YES. Giggles. Tinton is the only person who can make Liv giggle.
L: Okay. Okay. I know that I am the spoiled rotten adored child. Mama, don't forget your boarding pass. Remember that time when we all were headed to New Orleans and you forgot the boarding passes and I thought that Bing was going to scream at you because we were nearly to to the airport and running late anyway???.....
M: I won't forget my boarding pass. Ok. I don't have a lot of time. I wanted to let you know that I stopped over to see Nina. I told you that I would keep tabs on her.
L: How is she doing? Is she still keeping her blinds closed all the time?
M: (lying) No. The blinds are open. We had a nice long talk. I think she'll be just fine. Hal just died recently honey. She needs some time to get her sea legs back. But, she's fine. I told her that Winnie was staying with us. Hey! Do you want to say hi to Socks? He's right here at my feet. He keeps hearing your voice and he's looking very confused.
L: Sure. Hold him up.
Maria picks up Socks and tries to point his face at the computer screen but he keeps looking at her instead. Liv calls "Socksie!?" and he scrambles to get down, thinking that she has walked into the room. Maria forces him to look at the screen and he looks dumbfounded, but pleased. Liv coos to him and his tail wags. This is one of those syrupy moments that non-dog lovers will not understand, so let's carry on.....
M; Honey? I just want you know that I love you soo much. SOOOO much. I adore you. You are the best thing to ever happen to me. You saved my life....you...
L: Mama. You are NOT GOING TO DIE ON THE PLANE. So, stop this, okay? It's going to be fine.
Pause as Liv explains to Tinton that her silly Mother has this crazy premonition that she will die alone on an airplane. Tinton smiles indulgently at the screen.
T: It'll all be fine, Maria. And okay. If you do die, can I have all of those cool rocks in your rock garden?
L&M together: TINTON!
T: I was kidding! Maria, you aren't going to die. And Bing would never let me have those rocks anyway. She is so selfish....
L: Mama, it'll all be fine. Call me when you get to Asheville. Okay? I don't care what time it is.
M: (all false brightness) I know it will all be fine. I'm not one bit worried. I just called to say I love you. That's it. Okay, you two. Enjoy your day. I will see you on Friday, okay? And I'll keep in touch. Anything you want from North Carolina or Tennessee, Liv?
L: Just you to come back. Oh, Mama? Guess what? Tinton has been telling me how the University of Hawaii has kind of an interesting program for engineering. So, let's put it on my list, okay?
Maria blanches. Tinton looks sheepish.
M: Um..Hawaii is kind of FAR AWAY, don't you think? Never mind, we have many years to think about it. I'll talk to you both soon and see your sweet faces on Friday, okay? I love you both.
L & T: We love you too....goodbye! DON'T WORRY. Have a safe flight...yada yada yada...
END OF CONVERSATION.
I skipped the part where I blew kisses at them. It was just too dopey to mention.
So, now...all squared away.
I watered and weeded the garden last night. Told it that if I didn't come back, to feel free to just go wild. I've taken Socks on a long walk and warned him about not letting Winnie smoke in the house.
I'm all packed and ready to go.
Hey? Just in case? I want you to know that it has been a privilege knowing all of you.
Live long and prosper......and all that shit.
And remember that once there was a spot....one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot.