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Same, same, but different

You go to sleep in the US. I get on a plane inĀ  the US. You wake up in the US. I’m in India.

The longest distance is between two people.

I flashed, oh, about twenty people today on my way to India. My cute new button-down I felt I wore so smartly? It doesn’t button so much as unbutton. Especially when I’m not looking. I plop down on a train heading from New York City to Newark. Next to a cute day trader from Jersey. He smiles. I smile. Then he smiles bigger. I look down. My shirt is half open.

I get on a plane. The flight attendants are Angry. No one obeys any signs. No one really understands each other. Do you want veg or eggs? I want veg! Here you go. But where are the eggs? Eggs is non-veg, sir. I want veg. But that’s not eggs. Since when are eggs non veg? It’s all very perplexing.

They ask the 79-year-old Mr. Singh to Sit DOWN every five minutes during take off. He complies. But he’s first up when we’re still thirty seconds from landing. “Sir! Sit DOWN!” They repeat and repeat. “He doesn’t speak any English,” I say. “Ruhikia,” I plead with him. I think I’m saying wait. But I actually want to speak in Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish. I don’t remember Hindi. I can’t really remember where I am.

But then we touch ground. And it’s there. It’s the smoke in my eyes. The babies coming home to see their grandparents. The “you have change?” at the pre-paid taxi stand. It’s the taxi driver who I give directions in broken Hindi to all the way home, and we arrive and he says in perfect English, “Do you need help carrying that bag up?” I do, thank you, and I’m home. It looks different. But the same. The plants are bigger. The kittens are the same size. The gummy bears I bought four months ago are still tightly sealed in their tupperware pack. My beautiful friend rushes over and she’s still beautiful. And it’s night on my balcony and the sounds of life are everywhere and I pull out my charpoy and the moon is overhead. And I’m home.

2 Comments

  1. Bruce Hopkins says:

    Melissa, this behavior is so shocking! Were you trying to compete with those cougars at Opening Day at the Delmar Races?

  2. jim glendining says:

    no such thing as an accident.freud ?