She Looked and Beamed: Promise Felt Over the Atlantic
by H.S. Alexander
In and out of sleep like the oscillating tides.
I had seen her before, back in Boston, she had golden hair that screamed like the sun and small rounded features that emanated a planned beauty. Her father, or at least I could assume that was him, wore a grey knit sweater around his shoulders and a white popped up collar. She had a Harvard sweatshirt on and tiny horn-rimmed glasses perched upon her slender nose.
I had seen her before security, and now here she was, a mere 5 yards away. She was a thin girl, avoiding fattening foods for most her life. She appeared as if she could have been eating salads for lunch and toast with orange juice for breakfast for most of her life. However, she was not Barbie thin, she had an athletic build to her, probably formed by summers of tennis and walking on the beach. And so she stood there, glistening in the twilight hours of my last day in the States.
I had seen her before, but now she saw me. I made several backwards glances towards the blank wall next to the toilets after I had seen her nudger her head my way. She wasn’t looking directly forward, as all pretty girls don’t, but then there I was in her field of vision. Suddenly she revealed an affectionate smile, bobbing above the busy sloth of the waiting area like a golden buoy. Upon my own face was a stupid smile, stupid from the kind of love kids believe in, and I, stupefied by the gamma rays of a debutante’s smile, stood motionless amidst the travelers with my chest on fire. “Now boarding! Flight BA0212 to London!” She inched forward, I inched forward. I looked back again, and she smiled down in a flattered way, then looked back up at me, as if she could read my thoughts of “my, my, aren’t you beautiful?” She raised her head parallel to the ground and met my eyes firmly this time, still smiling but now a bit more playfully, and I heard a soft, smoked voice that whispered, “and aren’t you something?” She sleeps a row over now on the plane, the top of her golden head resting on a blue pillow in the aether.
I remember it now, and I hope that I will remember it for ever. The illustrious glow of the first sunlight over England that morning from 40,000 feet. Such an awe inspiring and magnificent sight I have never beheld. If you ever travel by air, grab the window seat, I implore you. We surfed above a glacier of ripped apart clouds, rugged and beaten in a chaotically imperfect manner. The muddy pink glow on the horizon seemed to be ejecting out the back of the massive Rolls Royce engine. A Scotsman fittingly slept beside me. There was an excruciating calm under the persistent hum of the 747, matched only by the rumblings in my stomach. The silence crept into my head and whispered promises of a fantastic journey, of debutantes and old books, wandering through the brick and the stone and the glass alone yet confident. Waking at one point during the night, I smelt food, and opened my eyes instinctively. Next to me the Scotsman had a full meal and he was polishing it off with a bottle of airplane champagne.
There’s always one and only one crying baby.
I had seen her before, earlier that flight, and now she rustled in the early hours. Her golden hair, which had gleamed before like the dome of the Hartford capital, was now wild and tossed, hairs thrown about by sleep’s fingers. I yearned to dig my fingers through the ruins like a conquistador and find her ancient fears and secrets. O, and her name, I guess…
Such unabridged joy and possibility at 40,000 feet in the first hours of that British morning. O, how I wished to drink up the patchwork painting of farms below, beige and soft green, how refreshing the morning dew on a year ahead of unbridled opportunity!
Soon we will be in Edinburgh. So very soon…