No Aisle (Seats)

The sky is pink and the streetlights are bright enough against it that the world looks Disney-flavored this morning. I shift infrequently so I can hold Tano's hand as much as possible before he leaves. At the American Airlines gate he doesn't move. I take a moment to find perkiness for my voice and then I say, "Here we are."

He looks over at me with an inflated lower lip. Maybe he's pouty because there were no good seats on the plane by the time he booked his ticket. But he can't move fast so he probably doesn't bother to pout about that because he's used to losing seats. Maybe he's pouty because he just found out he has a mysterious lump on one of his testicles. Maybe he's pouty that I told him if he has cancer I'm not staying with him, because if he's not going to marry me I'm not taking care of him during two of my best child-bearing years. Maybe he's pouty because he's flying to Boston to interview for a job he's not sure he wants. I told him it'd be good for him to live outside the two-square-mile area where he's lived for thirty years. You are too provincial, I told him when he was trying to decide if he wanted to interview.

He shifts in his seat and says, "Do you think they'll think I'm crazy if I show up with three coats?"

"You have three coats for two days in Boston?"

"What if it rains? What if it gets really cold? What if I snag one coat getting out of the taxi?"

I used to get impatient about things like this. Like when Tano couldn't decide if he should wash his red shirt with his brown shirt or his white socks and he wanted to discuss the intricacies of the make-up of bleach-safe detergent. I told him I don't fucking care how he washes the clothes and I don't even separate whites and colors. That time he did five, separate, almost-empty loads of wash because he didn't want to ruin anything. And I told him he should pay such close attention to our relationship, and then some swear words.

But Tano is leaving now, and I am already having pangs of that empty feeling I'd have if he really moved to Boston. I put my arm around his shoulders and kiss his cheek. I kiss his neck. I get as close as you can get to someone who is not in the same seat as you. I say, "If you walk in with three coats they'll know you're a person who doesn't know what he wants."

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