Previously posted: [Her head was pounding. A thick, clouded pounding that can only result from days of dehydration, being elevated several atmospheres above the Earth, and some mind-numbing alcohol. Not that she really drank that much. It was just hard when you went all day eating nothing but pretzels and chewy granola bars, and an occasional half-can of diet Coke.
The 5:00 AM Charlotte flight was bound to be on time, so she indeed had to wake up to the first alarm. Struggling through her dark blue polyester pants, she tried to clear the clouds from the two previous evenings. When she got to the precipice of her memory, where she might jump off the cliff, and, in falling, suddenly remember all the various horrid things she had done on the stage, in the spotlight, and under the table, she decided to hold back. Hang on to the edge of that cliff, too scared to look down and too strong to let go.
Stepping across the threshold onto the Boeing 747, her hair was still slightly damp, something the airline had made clear was not acceptable in its latest internal “grooming” memo, and she tossed it back over one shoulder as she quickly loaded her carry-on into the attendants’ space. This was going to be a long day.
She flitted among the seats, among the suits, never losing her stride or allowing herself to jump off that mental cliff. A tune was playing somewhere in the background of her mind, which she had chosen to finish her set with two nights ago. Dusty Springfield, "Son of a Preacher Man." Benny had turned it up as loudly as the system would go, and the blur of tequila and limes stung her lips now, memory defiantly reminding her.
Benny had been threatened with a trademark-infringement suit on two disparate occasions, over his naming of the establishment "The Hardrock." Apparently, the real Hard Rock didn't like a "gentleman's" club being of similar vestige. But he ignored them, and, after pursuing a visual inspection of the aging, nondescript white cinder block building, the law firm representing the real Hard Rock dropped it. Apparently they were satisfied that their restaurants were not "so similar that it was likely to deceive or to cause confusion or mistake on the part of the average purchaser."
She paused and looked up at the man requesting an apple-cranberry juice. His face was familiar; he traveled this route frequently, and she'd smiled at him before. And been smiled at.
"We have apple. And we have cranberry. I could .. mix them for you," she said breezily.
"Please. That would be refreshing." He had dark, serious eyes. Probably an attorney. Maybe a consultant. But they looked kind when he smiled.
"Sure," she elevated her voice above the noise of the jets. Her mind was reaching, farther back into her memory. Was it just from this flight that she recognized him? She passed him the drink, and his eyes met hers one more time. He was having the same struggle, and her heart leaped, unexpectedly. Surely he wasn't one of her regulars, down at the Hardrock?
"Miss?" A man was motioning from two rows down. "Miss, I need help." Her thoughts shifted, attention re-focused, back on auto-pilot. Her mystery man would have to remain that for now.
* "flying blind" has been continued as part of the weekly Spin Cycle, over at Sprite's Keeper. Check her out!