Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Southern hospitality

Crow - 340 words
Sarah Van Name

She wasn’t deep South, for sure, but she was Southern. Her hair was short but styled, an impeccable dye job, and the crows feet starting to complicate the skin around her eyes were gracefully smoothed out. I could see her sending her kids to a private school, bringing apple bars for snack-time every Wednesday, chatting with the other moms, drinking sweet tea when they went out to brunch with the PTA…and then her kids got to college and she got a job on the board of directors, through a combination of wit and money and well-placed compliments.

But as much as I like drawing characters in my head, I didn’t care so much why she was on the plane except insofar as she gave me something to do with the nervous energy that was shooting spectacles of light through my every tendon.

“I’m going to visit my boyfriend in Nashville,” I told her with a true smile at the beginning of the flight, and after I gave her the requisite information – the long-distance, the age difference – I think somehow through the red reading glasses and the tan tweed of her jacket, she understood.

If she had been deep South, I would have been able to see the Spanish moss hanging along the ambling path of her voice. I might have seen a slow-moving river or the unimpeachable heat of August in the way she turned the pages of her mystery novel. Instead her voice was a little deep, soft but clipped like a lock of hair falling to the floor.

I could have exchanged greetings with her on the sidewalk of my high school as she carried back the remains of her potato salad from Teacher Appreciation Day, on the way to a book club meeting. Those women were always sweet to me, God knows why. So when the plane settled its roar and the lights flickered on, I was grateful but barely surprised when she let me out first, saying, “Go on, honey, you’ve got someone waitin’ for you.”

Strictly Game - Harlem Shakes

No comments:

Post a Comment