The flight was uneventful. I watched the clouds, I watched the color of the sky brighten and then darken. I watched the roadways unfold and disappear. I watched the earth become water. And I felt the past catch hold, rough hands on a shirt sleeve.
“You lost kid?”
“Yeah. Gate 22. I’ve been all over this airport –”
He pointed. He was a tall man with black polished shoes, funeral shoes, and a dusty dark suit. “Hang left and then two rights.”
“Does it show?”
“Always does. You could have found it on your own if you weren’t thinking too hard. Miss a flight, they’ll be another. It’s just waiting, son.”
“I’ve never flown before.”
“Then there’s nothing to worry about. The pilot takes care of that.”
And just like that, I was calm. First time in the big city, first time on a plane, first time away from home.
With nowhere to go.
Woke up in a strange city, strange bed. Stank of exhumed wine and wet, sour hair. Warm sticky sheets, a pair of blue cotton panties knotted around my wrist. The window was open, cold October air soaking into the linen.
Do you know the way to San Jose. A radio the size of a Cracker Jack box….