A Romance Writer’s Hajj #RWA13

I get into the taxi. “Laguardia,” I say.

The taxi driver with big round eyes, Caramel skin, and shapely lips, bobs his head to the side and tepidly asks in his accented voice, “Laguardia?”

“Yes…” I eye the way he is clinging to the steering wheel for dear life, his butt on the edge of his seat, and his shoulders scrunched up to his years. “You do know how to get there, right?”

He mouths the word yes. Then clears his throat and repeats, “Yes.”

He proceeds then to creep along at a snail’s pace from 159th St. to 125th St. when he should have cut across and taken Harlem river drive down to Willis Bridge. As a result, it is 20 minutes stop and go across town.

Finally, we get to the toll on the Triboro Bridge, and he gets behind three buses instead of three small fast compact cars. After the toll, he creeps along again, startling as cars cut in front of him from the left and the right.

I lean forward. “I am kind of late. Can you go faster?”

“You still want airport?”

“Yes. But I want to get there sooner than later.”




No change.

Finally, he drops me at the curbside check-in; God is good after all.

Security is light; God is really good.

I get to the gate and find a seat. My alarm goes off: time to take my birth control… I left it at home. Simultaneously, the echoes of a cramp kick me in the ovaries, and I’m wearing white pants; perhaps God is not so good.

I board with almost no issue. Delays are minimal. I settle into my seat, guiltily grateful that Tom changed his mind and did not come. Now I can expand into his empty seat, while everyone else crams into-

“Hello, I’m assigned to this seat, but my wife is in an aisle seat up there. Would you mind switching?”

I frown. “But… This is a window seat.”

“Would you mind?”

“But I paid a fee to select this seat in advance.” No, I didn’t. But he doesn’t know that, and what if I had?

“Alright, no mind.” The man shrugs at his wife.

I put on my headphones. My stomach tightens. Am I really going to be the bitch that deprives him of his wife’s company for two hours? A part of me argues they have the rest of their lives together, but me and my window seat have only these precious two hours…Ugh! “You know what, it’s fine. Where is she?”

“Are you sure? I mean I don’t want to trouble you.”

“It’s fine!” I snap, making him pay for my kindness.

I gather my things and switch with his wife, who accidentally thwacks me with her luis Vuitton purse. “So sorry!”

“Um hum.”

I sit down, realizing I am seated in the aisle seat of the first row of three-seaters situated behind a first-class two-seater: AKA worst fucking seat in the whole damn plane.

I annoy even myself as I lean completely over the Puerto Rican couple to my right, my backpack scraping the woman’s foot as I shove it under the seat in front of her.

Then the real fun begins.

My crossed leg kicks the shins of every passerby. The cart hits my knee for every round of drinks. Purses slam my head for every trip to the bathroom. I become nothing less than the ultimate annoyance as everyone meanders around the most awkward corner and deviation in the plane’s central walkway.

Then, as I am halfway through writing the first chapter of my next get rich (but not) quick (enough) plan, the sun goes down.

Fine. I’ll just turn on the light.

I reach over the woman next to me, when she makes the sign of the cross and snuggles up to her husband for a nap. He too nods his head and closes his eyes. His hand wraps around her as he caresses her arm.

The scene inspires violence in my divorced and single soul. It occurs to me I no longer have a date for the romance writers ball on Saturday night (classic). Suddenly, I am not so guiltily grateful Tom bailed. I retract my hand lest my reading light disturb their sweet slumber…

Fuck that.

I press the overhead button. Nothing happens. I press it a lot. And hard. Like impatient people do when the elevator doesn’t move fast enough–but the fucking bulb is burnt out.

I don’t have the worst seat on the plane, I have the worst seat in the entire world.

But I don’t let it stop me. I just squint and continue writing in the dimness, debating if I should obscure or flaunt the content for the finance guy with a southern twang, eyeing me and my prose in his peripheral vision across the aisle.

What the hell. I am bored. Annoyed. Might as well throw in a sex scene in big bold capital letters and see if he bites. After all, I haven’t been laid in almost seven-


A woman’s purse hits me in the back of the head.

“So sorry!”

In combination with the loss of birth control, I can’t help but take it as a sign from God: get thee to a nunnery.

I give the woman a dirty look. “Not as sorry as me.”

Then the plane hits turbulence, and my motion sickness kicks in…


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