- I was on a plane once a long time ago and the woman sitting next to me had never been on a plane before. She was young, perhaps 19 and she explained that she was going to visit her boyfriend at college in Atlanta and that he would be meeting her at the gate. This was when you could still meet people at the gate and see all the sweet reunions at the gate which are not as common to see now in the baggage claim area because a gate is so immediate and so much time has passed by the time you get to the baggage claim area that it is really just not the same. She liked the plane ride a great deal and was so happy about seeing the clouds right there next to her like floating travel companions and so enchanted by the sliding window shade and the sturdy window the shade slid over and the view of big things made tiny from our astonishing height. And the inside of the plane thrilled her too, the tray tables and the controls and buttons overhead, especially the air control which she fiddled with the whoosh of quite often. She mostly just appreciated everything about her ride including her complimentary beverage and her complimentary meal and the way it fit on the tray table exactly and the tiny salt packet it included and she really could hardly understand the people reading books when there was so much excitement to experience on the plane itself . She said, "I've been looking forward to this for such a long time. I just think this is amazing. We really are flying. We really are in this gigantic thing that is like a bird with wings only it is not a bird. Everything about this is an invention!" I enjoyed her enthusiasm and it made me appreciate what had become a little familiar to me and put some magic and dimension back into it. Then we landed which was of course a wonder to her too and we said goodbye and she gathered up her things and I was right behind her as we made our way through the narrow aisle. She was eager to get out then and adorably so. I saw which waiting human was the one that she called boyfriend right away. He was blond and quite plump in an unexpected sweetly, sensuous way like a pie can be. He was pink in the face from the blood in him rushing up so suddenly at the sight of her. He took his hands out of his pockets and lifted them up in a spontaneous gesture that seemed to be welcoming and reaching out to her all at once. He seemed to vibrate a bit and had to steady himself as if from a jolt. He was bashful and his bangs obscured some of his expressions but the feeling inside him was not bashful at all. It was a big feeling and it spread out from him and she walked directly into it's beam. It was so glorious and brave how she did that even though she did it so naturally, as if she did not know a different way it could be, the way the whole thing could be, as I certainly did know, I did and I was not much older than she. I wish I hadn't known the other ways it could be- ways of pretending or sorrow or obligations or fighting, or mismatched affections. I gathered from that moment all I could and stored it somewhere for so many years and didn't take it out much to study at all. I want you to know that I am really not telling you this story for any specific reason having to do with us. It is just a memory I had, just something I was thinking about recently and wanted to finally write down the details of and share with you and now it seems that I have.