It is a little after 9:00 pm. I paid an extra $50 for a seat upgrade so I am on the upper level where I have more leg room and a wider seat, and I'm almost giddy at my good fortune... 2 empty seats beside me! I'm peering across these seats to see Atlanta glittering like a million gold diamonds in the blackness below me. And very soon, after I've had my dinner (take a look at this Air France menu) I am going to stretch out across my 3 seats, cover myself with 2 blankets, and sleep soundly, thanks to a friend with a prescription of something that will knock me out. This may be the first time I have ever slept on a plane crossing the Atlantic.
I am headed back to la Bonne Etoile to teach another pastel workshop. I will see Kippy and Jerome again and their collection of lovely family and friends. I think I have 8 students who will be converging from different points in the US and Canada in a couple of days. And you who are subscribed to my blog will hear every detail of our next two weeks, unless you can figure out a way to block my posts.
But I am suddenly vividly reminded, as I lavish in this not-quite-first-class luxury, of my first flight 6 years ago to La Bonne Etoile. The plan for a year had been that when I finished teaching my class, my husband would fly out to meet me and we would explore northern Italy. It would be a dream come true for both of us. At the last minute he changed his mind for no apparent reason other than to hurt me. He was masterful at that, and I cried the entire way across the Atlantic, afraid I would never be able to stop. The crying didn't stop for another 3 years until I forced myself to crawl out of a depression as dark as what I see below me now (must be the Atlantic because it is nothing but blackness). I marvel now, six years later at my contentedness (is that a word?), at how I am well into a new chapter of my life, how hopeful I am of my future, how compelled I am by a new joy in painting, at how the broken heart and mind heal. Something close to a miracle in my eyes.
Speaking of eyes, I'm gunna' shut mine now. I feel the xanax kicking in.