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The First 24 - Part 1

"The modern airplane creates a new geographical dimension. A navigable ocean of air blankets the whole surface of the globe. There are no distant places any longer: the world is small and the world is one." ~Wendell Willkie

I was bloody lucky. My row mates on the plane were brilliant - they could not have been better. I got to know them well enough since the lights, television and anything else electric was not working in our section from our row back. We had 14 hours and little light to get to know each other.

On the far left, in window, was an American who works in Doha, Qatar. He is a project manager and he has something to do with oil. We did not get into those details. In the middle, I found out the next day, a few minutes before disembarking, was Paul, an American who works in Kuwait, but has lived overseas most of his life. At aisle, was I, an American going to teach in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. We immediately began conversation. By the time we were prepared for take off, we were old friends. It’s a good thing because all the toys we brought with us to keep us busy, were useless. Our lights did not work, so we could not read. Our televisions did not work, so we could not view the movie or the tele. We were bummed to say the least for the moment.

“I am so glad I am sitting next to you.” I raised an eyebrow at my row mate when he said that. “I have learned so much already! When I saw I was sitting next to you, I was like ‘thank you’.”

Glad to be of service, I laughed. I had learned much as well. I learned what signals were OK to use towards others when one was driving (and angry), and which ones to avoid. I learned which nationality had the best reputation for maid service - I’ll find out in a couple of weeks. I also learned that I will be able to afford dry cleaning services that will come to my house to pick up my laundry and drop it off, as well as the fact that I could probably have someone come to my apartment to do my nails and toes, as Paul does, as opposed to going to a salon.

“I can’t wait to see you in one year! You are going to be so spoiled!” He laughed.

I laughed. I was not going to argue. But I did a little.

“I am not going to be bougie!” I laughed and looked away haughtily.

Life in the Near East was going to be just lovely. I did not know this man’s name, but he painted quite the palatable picture of life in my new home. He was returning from holiday in the Bahamas.

I could not wait to get out of the plane and into the heat. I must admit, I was happy to sit next to him also. Another Black American, living and working happily in the Arabian Gulf region...and an Anglo-American who wasn’t complaining...good company.

Prior to boarding the plane, I was a little concerned about having an aisle seat. I love the window seat because I have an affinity for viewing take off and landing, and in between the two, I like to sleep with my head on the window sill. But for the long flight, I chose the aisle. How was I going to sleep without permanently injuring my neck?

“You can lean on me if you want, so you can sleep.”

Gaia bless Paul.

“That was some of the best sleep,” my neighbor stated next day.

I did not respond. I realized that I just slept on this man’s shoulder and I did not even know his name. I had already thought of him as my first friend in the Gulf region, and I did not even know his name. Somehow, that felt very wrong.

Closer to our arrival, he had his license out (or passport, I remember not which a week later) and I took it. Paul.

Approximately 12 hours after we sat down and began talking, I introduced myself.


Kadi-Ann said…
I am waiting with "breath that is bated" for more... love K

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