On the Pedway

1. In the Newark airport, a young woman approaches us, avoiding all eye contact. We are standing underneath the CNN monitor, biting one another in between conversations. She circles us slowly, arms outstretched, like an airplane. Three times she circles us in slow arcs and crests, as if she is a white puff of cottonwood seed caught in the spring wind. She is an airport princess with a mysterious, Mona Lisa-like smile. She goes back to her giggling friends. When she comes in on her second approach, her friends stand up to take a picture. Lickey and I pose, smile and wave for the camera.

2. He has a Coke and I have a cranberry juice. We are drinking as fast as we can, because squeezing down the thin aisle is the stewardess with a trash bag, and we cannot be left with our cups. We will have to hold them for the entire remaining duration of the flight, all four hours, the whole time watching Behind Enemy Lines and Serendipity and having to hold our soggy paper cups, folded in our hands, the remaining liquid dripping down our fingers and sticking for the duration of our entire vacation. And then, when she is two seats away from us, comes the turbulence. There are pilot voices on the intercom telling the stewardesses to sit down. The stewardesses are rushing the plane. We devour our beverages in one purge and toss them almost too late into the floating garbage bag in her hands. Lickey starts burping madly.

3. With hours to kill, we find the airport floor is covered in fish mosaics. Sun streams through tall glass windows. In every possible color, there are eels, turtles, dogfish and schools adrift. We are walking slow, walking backwards, provoking each other. Lickey calls me names. In a fury, I step on his foot. Nearby, an overpass constructs itself. We are standing still on the moving floor, flying by the sun in an endless revolution, frozen in a kiss on the pedway.

by Cedar Pruitt