no heart. Gimme back my shoes.” The neighbor/car service guy cannot go any further with my mom. The rules. The com- panion person from JetBlue now meets her, thankfully. There is no window seat available. She has an aisle seat. It appears that no one wants to give up a seat. I am horribly sad by this lack of generos- ity for this old, frail woman, and dare I say, embarrassed, because this old frail woman is in fact my mom. This is where I get to relive the whole crazy scenario as it is repeated to me: My mother throwing a shit storm of a nut-dance, hurling a racial slur at the African American flight attendant, and then, if that wasn’t enough, causing another passenger who was somewhat overweight to breakdown and cry. “You know how fat you are? You have your own zipcode.” The administrator told me on the phone it was like an unstoppable chaotic ruckus. A tornado. A whirlwind. I am sad. I tell her that my mom has the begin- ning stages of dementia. It comes and goes, but mostly it’s coming these days. I give her all the broad strokes, my dad died, she’s liv- ing alone, we know, we know, it’s time to get her settled, she’s stubborn, she’s independent, and there’s the whole question of what to do now. Move her, or does she stay? And she’s al- ways been much more strident and righteous and defiant. Not going gently into the good night. She’s escorted off the plane, and somehow manages to get back to her condo by renting a car even though she has an expired license. I would just love to meet that Avis rental per- son who gave my mom a red Mustang to tool around in. She calls me in absolute hyper-hysterics. She wants me to fire every single one of those nasty, bitchy flight attendants, and pilots, and the co- pilot, he’s as much to blame. And where is her luggage, her f---ing luggage? “I bet they stole it. They stole it and you should fire them, the whole lot of them. Now. I want you to fire them now.” “Okay, Ma. I’m gonna fire them now.” I find out from the very cordial and patient JetBlue rep that her luggage is on its way to New York. I am in Los Angeles on business; my brother is at a birthday celebration on Long Island. Neither one of us expected this hailstorm. I try to deal with the airport bu- reaucracy and arrange for my mom’s luggage
“See that, see that, they’re dancing together. Just like Daddy andme. You can only see this kind of magic from a window seat.”
to make its way to Fort Lauderdale within 48 hours, barring any glitches. My mother refuses to speak to anyone. She feels duped and lied to and the fat girl should have gotten up. “My God, she took up two god-damn seats.” And then she said, “I always, always have to sit at the window.” Why, I ask her, why? “F--- you,” she hangs up on me. Shortly thereafter, I moved my mom to New Mexico where she was about to start living in an assisted living facility. “Did you get me a window seat?” “Yeah, Ma, I got you a window seat.” “Good,” she said, “Good.” As the plane revved its engines, and was about to take off, my mom took my hand and squeezed it, staring out the window – watching the plane disappear into the gor- geous white clouds – and after a few long, long, moments, she turned to me, and said: “Up here, in the clouds, I can dream all I want.” Then she pointed to two clouds, al- most intertwined, and she said with such joy: “See that, see that, they’re dancing together.
Just like Daddy and me. You can only see this kind of magic from a window seat.” In that moment, on that plane, it was as if every memory was intact. She started to giggle. She was so happy, con- tent. The lines on her face smoothed out, her eyes filled with a sparkle and a twinkle. It was here – up here – that my mother had always been able to see and feel and imagine clouds dancing, forms taking shape, lovers kissing, the intertwining of souls, and as her hand pressed up against the window, she could, in fact, feel the kindness of Heaven. Amy Ferris is an author, editor, screen- writer and playwright. Her memoir, Marrying George Clooney, Confessions From a Midlife Crisis (Seal Press, 2010) was adapted into an Off-Broadway play in 2013. Amy dropped out of high school, and never looked back. Coming from a middle-class Jewish family on Long Island, this was, as you can imagine, not received well. Her parents sat shiva for two years. *
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