The Mile High Club
The chaos of the San Francisco airport faded once behind the peacock-blue and frosted glass of the Virgin Atlantic Club Lounge where modern red-winged swivel chairs, complete with data ports, faced toward the far wall where a five-screen video displayed rushing water, which was curiously calming.
Sitting there, I thought about the many times I’ve left the comfort and security of my home, standing as it does above the rocks of Mendocino, and the whole notion of abandoning the place is thought about and gone over and fills me with a constant need to sigh.
But not today.
It isn’t a natural thing for me to concentrate my eyes on a beautiful woman. Yet here I was, doing exactly that. The fact is, just by the very look of her, one sensed a certain kind of presence; like a woman in a fabulous opera.
Her hair slicked back tight against her head and black as darkness. She wore very little make-up for her skin has a lush natural olive tone. Her face, too, has all the attributes men can’t stare away from for long; high cheekbones, bright hazel eyes, and a petite and shapely nose. She appeared no more than forty years old. I knew I was staring, having been caught twice, but rewarded, however, with a stunningly shy smile.
I always had difficulty talking to beautiful women. I’m not particularly inventive when it comes to engaging in conversation with them. So, having been caught staring at this most attractive woman, I began to think of a storyline with which I knew might prompt a conversation. It is then she looks up, smiles again, bolder this time, parting her lips to show immaculate rows of teeth.
I seldom pray anymore, relying on a tendency to trick my way to any favorable outcome and anyway, prayers are often complex and take time when what I’m hoping for is more often an immediate response.
It was about then we were approached by a rather handsome man offering a Lounge Menu. The striking woman smiled, took the menu, and without browsing herself, used those hazel eyes to ask if I would like to order. I gestured my lack of interest, smiled, then looked away because I wanted to say everything to her, but content just to sit across from her and happily never see the outside world again.
She rested back in the chair, crossing her shapely legs. Her skirt, with a modest slit to one side, was unknowingly exposing a gymnasium-toned thigh. It was pure restraint on my behalf not to bend my head in such a way that would allow my eyes a slightly deeper, more intimate look. Feel as sorry for me as you wish but I dare to say only a saint would not be encouraged to bend his head. I am not a saint. I am an animal. A fake. But I am an honest animal and a respectable fake. I felt the longing stirring in my pants. Nor was I the only man to notice. The handsome waiter reappeared to wipe over the table, which, of course, was perfectly clean. He bent low and I watched his head twist just a fraction. Young stud. Eventually she lowered her leg to a more natural pose and those thoughts, those feelings of desire were ensconced to the back of my mind.
A woman can be too beautiful, I think. I watched as men moved purposefully around her, wanting to engage her eyes, maybe offer a smile and wait for a signal to come closer — but no smile broke from her face with such a signal.
I think she must already be deeply in love.
An hour passed. Then we were boarding, and the subtly-scented woman followed on directly behind me. I turned left into the cabin, pushed my carry-on into the overhead at seat 6B, and took my seat against the window, expecting her to pass on through the cabin. She didn’t pass, but instead confidently sat in the aisle seat next to me. There were businessmen and adulterous husbands who would have killed for my seat right then.
Once settled, a red-skirted, white-shirted flight attendant inquired if we would like a newspaper or magazine. We both declined. Then we were told about a ‘shoulder and neck massage’ being available during the last two hours of our overnight flight to London. The woman in the seat next to me was delighted and confirmed her desire to accept the service offered. The attendant ticked off her seat number on a chart. I politely turned down the offer.
No matter how many times I take this flight to London, or how accustomed I am to a seat in the first-class partition, I still must have a ‘child-play’ with the seat operation. It’s a man thing, I’m told. So, when the beautiful woman sitting next to me spoke, she asked, “Will you show me how the seat works, I understand it will lie flat,” she said, stating the obvious — because I’m already lying in a prone position. In a weird way, and had she been any other kind of woman, I would have been slightly embarrassed.
“Happy to,” I replied, up-righting myself, and trying to contain my erotic delight at the prospect of flying and lying alongside this woman for the next twelve hours.
Beautiful thoughts about this woman drifted in and then out of my mind. If only God would grant me a lifetime of this celestial, ethereal calm of sitting beside her. The woman has such aged nobility, so that a younger woman would suffer some pain. Call it what you will, but somewhere she has learned that romance and magic can be intertwined; or perhaps it is just her heart.
Looking over, I could see that her skirt had ridden up some inches. She did nothing to correct it. I could imagine her being a lovingly playful partner. The mere sense of touching her skin was enough to cause my blood to stir and concentrate in my lap, resulting in the pressure inside my pants urging me to move uncomfortably in my seat.
When the airplane reached cruising altitude the seatbelt sign was turned off. A couple of minutes later the flight attendant approached, carrying a silver ice bucket, cooling a bottle of fine bubbly.
“Mr. and Mrs. Schofield, please accept this bottle of champagne on behalf of the captain and crew. Congratulations on celebrating your fortieth wedding anniversary.”
There was a kindly smattering of applause from around the cabin.
I looked again at this stunning woman, my wife, no differently than I had looked at her forty years ago when I said, “I do…”. Her eyes welled. So much joy she has brought me, and now and again I manage to surprise my wife with a carefully planned moment of loving expression.
She started to say something, choking back tears.
“Every day, I thank my guardian angel that I met you, and that I have you. You have no idea what your love means to me,” she said, eyes glinting with moisture. “You’re a scoundrel, Frank Schofield. I thought you were up to something the way your cheeky eyes have been looking at me all day. You’re my champion, you understand that, right? My romantic champion. I love you, Frank, Happy Anniversary,” she said, and we chinked glasses. “Now tell me, what have you been thinking about since we left home and explain to me all those wanton smiles. I know how you get when you’re thinking about something exciting, or mischievously devious.”
“Oh, honey, you know me… always dreaming… always trying to find a way to reinvent myself so that you’ll never want to fall out of love with me. But yes, there was something mischievous on my mind. Have you ever heard the saying ‘The Mile-High Club’?
The woman of my dreams took my hand, and all she said was…