Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Somewhere over Namibia, or maybe Botswana, the cabin attendants let us raise the window sashes on our SAA Airbus A340. Light streamed in. I looked out and saw African clouds.  I had had a restful night, stretched flattish (with angles for knees) on my three empty seats in the back. The flight was not full, and those back seats fill up last, for some reason. Twelve hours behind us, we had another two to go before touching down in Johannesburg,

After collecting my luggage and passing through customs at Oliver Tambo International, I boarded another giant, packed-to-capacity Airbus and we took off, headed for Cape Town. I like this part. Illogically, over Africa, I feel safe. Not so much over the Atlantic. But as I was seated over a wing (stupid me), I could take no pictures unless we were banking, as we did shortly after take off.

I still find flying pretty miraculous.

And then we were over the Western Cape, an hour and a half after take off. Late March is not the green season. 

Soon we dipped under some low cloud to land, and my fellow passenger, an elderly black man silent till now in his crisp suit, and buried in his New Age newspaper, welcomed me home. I suppose I had that look. The pale brown man in the seat ahead of me - we had flown all the way from JFK together -  turned back to me and said, Jis,  I'm glad to be home. Ek is moeg. And I agreed. I was moeg, too.

I slept last night the sleep of the dead. No thumping woke me at 3am, no household noises from below our paper floor in Harlem, just deep dark sleep, accompanied by the vivid dreams of the drugged.

High on silence.


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