Saturday, October 07, 2006

Octopus Returns

As a boy from Glastonbury, Connecticut, deep in the leafy, hilly green heart of the land of steady habits, I never imagined that there would come a time when I would land at an airport in Burbank named after Bob Hope and think "I'm home."

Before the flight, I sat at Gate 69 at SFO with my eyes closed, waiting out a delayed departure time, feeling things like words forming in my darkened head. They almost had sound, and they felt like dull flashes of white light. I wanted them to stop, but I was so tired that I had no control over what happened behind my eyes. Maybe they weren't words. Perhaps they were just thoughts that didn't know how to convey themselves to me.

Late last night I sat in economy with my head leaning up against the seat in front of me as our plane taxied to the gate at Burbank, wishing I could go back to sleep. I emerged from the DC-10 into the brisk Los Angeles October night, walking down the stairs onto the tarmac with the hills of Glendale twinkling in the distance. We walked by another United arrival, the people rubbing their eyes and shuffling off toward their cars, and home.

I meant to write from the plane, an Octopus first. But I was too tired, and it didn't happen. So I'm writing this now, in the Saturday sunshine streaming through our living room windows in Eagle Rock, under the swaying palms.

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