HOOK LINE SINKER
16B. It’s my sweet spot. It’s a place I can rescue people if we start sinking to the ground. It’s like I’m the captain. Of Coach. Which is alright. I’ve been told I’m a humble guy.
My favorite food is burritos. I got one for my wife Wendy after she gave birth to our son Afa. It wasn’t so much a craving she tells me, but a manner of receiving. I was inspired to do as much when I thought to get her one. It is probably exhausting to be large and have to waddle for months and then get naked in front of a lot of people while they stare at your vagina.
The thing about a burrito is that it is everything wrapped all into one. Like Target. And so she said, as a result of my good intentions, “I ate it.”
I knew she was a keeper before we decided to get pregnant, but that sentiment for me was validation. Proof. A captain like me can’t be impressed by more. Well, that isn’t true. I can.
After the birth I created a three page Google Form to collect data. This lady, God bless her heart, was a trooper. You see, I am a naturally empathetic person and because she literally created a human with my support for a period of time, I intentionally didn’t make every question on the form required. But the lady nonetheless filled it out.
The point being, I once heard that women can sometimes poop when they give birth. This is something Wendy was super nervous about. When she travels she has a hard time pooping. She says it has something to do with comfort and environment. I haven’t pried too much into her reasoning because what man wants to know about his lady’s bowel movements? I have the common sense to realize it’s a sensitive issue for her. Our relationship is founded on the premise of mutual respect. That is one thing I would write a letter to Esquire about: “Men. Do not, under any circumstances, pry into her toilet life.”
The romance in our life is preserved as a result of this one rule. No matter how old we get or how long we’ve been together — this is the key, I tell everyone, for keeping romance alive.
Henceforth, 16B. I believe romance is more than something that happens between hearts or body parts. Romance is passion. It’s following the lead of something bigger. Normally I sit in first class. More often than not, this is how it goes down. But sometimes I have to collect data. It’s my nature. And for that it’s 16B. I have to place myself among the people.
There is a man sitting next to me. He is sleeping. He stepped on my foot to get to his seat. He’s drooling. I’m slightly disgusted. It is not the least bit romantic. Which is okay. Apparently they tell girls when they come of age that, “you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince.” The guy next to me is definitely a frog. I am more of an earthworm. I could also be considered a peacock because of my affinity for collaboration and sharing the reproduction process — always with très beaucoup elegance. We can be lots of things at the same time.
When I’m in 16B I’m an earthworm saving a crashing plane, but when I’m at home I eat burritos with my tail splayed in a glorious demonstration of beauty.
The thing about earthworms is that they are injured very easily. Bodies are severed. You could be hooked and fed to a fish. Kids can stomp on you on their way to school. Especially if it has been raining.
But earthworms, we know how to romance ourselves. We practice self-care. We put the passion into growing ourselves back. And when we have learned the art of saving ourselves, we purchase a ticket with the number lettering 16B. The Exit Row. So in the case it happens the plane we are in goes down, we can help. It’s a sweet spot. A favorite pastime of mine.
I am looking across the aisle. I see a woman. She is wearing a hat. I feel like she wants to say something to me so I look a little more intently in her direction. Ever so slightly and very discreetly, she pulls her arm out. She hides the closed fist of one hand a little bit under the armpit of her opposite arm. I am able to see it, but I don’t think anyone else can. She lifts her thumb up. Then slowly tilts it so it’s pointing sideways. I wonder if this is a signal. Does she want help? Should I save her?
I fasten my seatbelt. The light came on. It is a simple reality that we can only do so much. I need to take care of myself first.