From Madrid to Heaven

Up above, I am flying in a plane, through the clouds, engines roaring, the sun beating on my chest and glinting off my nail polish.

I am dry. My hands are cracked, my tongue wooden, my eyes tearless. I rub my skin with lotion, but it dissipates, and I am dry once more.

The plane is old and lacking the customary distractions. So, I listen to the woman behind who coughs. I watch the flight attendant clicking and turning the latches on the metal compartments. I glance at the balding man in a navy sweater leaning his head against the window, eyes closed, a magazine open to a photo of Madrid.

I traveled there once — to Madrid. I don’t remember liking it very much. The Madrilenos tossed paper napkins on the floor of the tapas restaurants, ankle high in some places. City workers swept up the jamon and chorizo-soaked litter in the morning, depositing bulging garbage bags onto half-sized trucks. On the flight back home, an old Spanish woman threw napkins onto the cabin floor.

I look out the window of the plane. Ice crystals gather along the plastic frame. Each crystal is shaped differently. Some are like gulls, others are inchworms and a few are dragonflies and fairies.

The view changes from fields of clouds to grided plots of land and snaking rivers that open into a lake that looks like a whale leaping out of the ocean.

My cuticles are dry. I add more hand lotion. It smells like oranges.


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