We shuffle down the aisle. People putting carry-ons into overhead compartments. I see AD finding his seat towards the middle of the plane. Sadly I'm in the back, even though I'm with a friend. He smiles and blows me a kiss before I see him almost disappear, only the top of his head visible from the seat. I take my seat by the window. The back of the plane is crowded, but the front doesn't look so much.
We tried to get our tickets together but since AD was able to come with us at last minute that wasn't able to happen. So we traveled separated by a few chairs. The lights dim and the stewards voice comes on. I'm watching our steward, he's an old man, probably in his late 70's, I'm not kidding. He can barely stand, and he doesn't look happy. He mutters out the flight safety instructions that few people ever listen to. He looks like he's in pain as he slowly fastens the display seat belt and then uses his arms to point out the emergency exits. As soon as he's done and the plane taxis down the runway, he takes his seat not to get up again until we level off. I can't help but think that with the economy the way it is, he had to start working again as retirement money just wasn't enough, and I worry about him.
I watch out the window as the plane takes off. The engines whirring and clicking. The televisions mounted in the seat head showing what movies are available and gives you a free 15 minute preview of the Direct TV offered on the plane. I press the brightness button until the TV is turned off. I sit back and watch the land change. From over water to the city, to country, farm land, woods. I see the sun leaving us as day starts to become night. I stare out the window, and then raise myself up a little to check on AD. I see the top of his head so I know he's okay.
It feels like we're climbing forever. I want to get up and check on AD but the seat belt sign is still on. I sigh and rest my head on the head rest. I stare down at my feet and wiggle my toes. Before I know it AD is tapping my shoulder. He tells me his whole row is empty as he makes his way to the bathroom. Asides from the back of the plane the front is mostly empty. I tell him that I'll be up there with him as soon as we level off. He nods and goes to the bathroom. I watch him after he's done and makes his way back to his seat.
It seems like we climb and climb. The pilot never comes on to make the announcement that we can move about. I wait about 20 minutes before I finally just get up. I was to tell my friend I was moving but she's asleep. I hop over her and make my way to AD. There are tons of empty seats. Asides for the lady her child sitting behind AD the rows in front and beside him are all empty. I move up on him, he's asleep. I raise the arm rests and snuggle up with him, putting his arms around me.
AD: Thank you.
Me: For what?
AD: For coming to sit with me. And for being you.
I stroke his hair and he falls back to sleep, though his arms are tight around me. I feel ashamed that what ever decisions need to be made he always tells me, that let's just do what would be easier for me. He goes out of his way that things are always as easy for me as possible. I know that if I ask something that we need to do he'll respond with "Let's just do what's easier for you." And I accept the option easier for me, and for this I feel ashamed. I tell him that I can't always do what's easier for me, but he always makes it so we wind up doing it that way anyways.
I sit there and watch him, tracing his face with my finger tips. We went to visit friends on the west coast. The entire time AD only knowing one other person besides me, and being kind to my friends. I laughed and talked and caught up and cried with my friends. I didn't realize that the entire week that we were there that I was only with AD for a few hours asides from going to sleep. But I didn't realize this till the night before we left.
We were at a party that some of my friends were having. Sitting on chairs in the back yard of their house. It was just an everybody bring something kind of deal. Before we knew it there were at least a hundred people there in their tiny back yard. Sitting on the grass or wherever. AD got me a drink when we arrived and I immediately turned into the social butterfly that I am and sat down with some friends that I hadn't seen in forever. I caught up with a friend from long ago who just got divorced. We talked, I lost track of time, to my shame I lost track of AD. Fortunately my friend did not, and she reminded me of this.
My Friend: Marriage is something that you have to work at. It's give and take, and you have to be fair. It's can't always be your way. You're going to do things that he's not going to want to do and vice versa. Such as being at a party where he knows no one, even if he does so, so you can be with your friends.
And it hit me. I looked around, I didn't see him. I got panicked. My friend turned my head and I saw him, hidden in a shadow, in the corner of the yard by the fence, leaning against it and sipping his soda and doing his best to smile. I excused myself and worked my way through the crowd to get to him. He had spaced out and didn't even notice when I walked up to him.
AD: Huh? Oh hey, what's up?
Me: I'm sorry.
AD: (looking confused) For what?
Me: For making you do all these things for me when I know that you'd rather be somewhere else.
AD: Don't worry about it. I want you to have fun with your friends. You only get to see them a couple of times a year anyways.
Me: But I'm not being fair to you. Make me be fair.
AD: You are being fair.
Me: No I'm not, I'm being selfish. We can leave if you want.
AD looks at me for a few moments.
AD: I'd be lying if I said that I wanted to be here and I'd like to leave. I'm not good in really big crowds, they freak me out. And I'm not the people person you are. But I want you to enjoy being with your friends right now. Go be with them, I'll be fine here holding up the fence. When you're ready you know where to get me.
Me: You're too good to me.
AD: No I'm not.
Me: You are.
I kiss him, and he smiles. He tells me to go back and visit with my friends. I sit where I can see him this time and I watch as he walks around some only to make his way back to the empty corner. He does this a few times. I only visit for another 30 minutes before I decide to take him out of here. He reminds me of a flower getting choked out by tall grass, so I have to safe him. I tell everyone goodbye and we leave taking along our two friends that we're staying with.
I wanted to ride back to the hotel to be better, but that didn't happen. One of my friends had a little too much to drink and was acting a fool. He was doing a crazy dance in the back seat to the music, talking very loud and laughing even louder. AD was driving, and I was flipping through the radio stations trying to find music that would be okay with everyone. And I flipped and flipped. After going through the stations about five times you could see a vain pop out on AD's head. He was getting upset, my friend was getting louder. Finally AD reached over and turned the radio off. He pulled into a gas station without saying a word, got out and started filling up the tank. I got out and went to tell him I'm sorry. He forced a smile and said it's ok, that he's not upset with me and just needed some air. I went inside the station to get him a Sprite and some asprin, and we continued on our way, all the way back in silence. Fortunately my friend having passed out by the time we got back in the car.
AD didn't say anything when we got back to the hotel. Just a few answers to my questions here and there. I felt bad for having to make him put up with this, even I was annoyed. The next morning we left back for home, packing etc. We talked but its the average travel we need to get here and there busy talk. And now we were on the plane heading back home.
I look out the window past AD. I see some city lights below us as we fly by. The lights sparkle light diamonds on a piece of black velvet. I hold AD's hand while he sleeps, and I whisper in his ear, "Make me be fair." Without warning I grab his head and he opens his eyes. I kiss him. The older gentleman steward walks past us without saying a word, he knows better than to interupt, but he rolls his eyes. It's ok though, two less people to have to cater to. I kiss AD, and I didn't stop till we touched down at home. And when we did, I whispered to him again. "Make me be fair."