An extension of me.
It was tucked away in my laptop bag, rolled up tight, hidden. I had to bring it, I just didn’t think I could get on the plane without it. No one found it at security, and after I threw my shoes back on I ducked into a bathroom where I carefully took it from my laptop bag and put it into the pocket of my Levi’s. Wait! I can’t do that, what if I get stopped for a security check again? Back into the laptop bag it went. I waited till the nice gate agent smiled and handed me back my boarding pass, hardly hearing her words to enjoy my flight and as I took off to walk the plank on the jet way and in a calculated move, managed to get it in my pocket without anyone noticing. It’s mortifying to have people see it.
I stepped onto the plane and made my way back to our seats. I threw my computer bag in the overhead compartment, and with my head down I practically dove for my 17″ squishy coach airplane seat. I know it was me who sat down but it did not feel like my body, there was no jarring pain of the armrests digging into my flesh, no thoughts of how I was going to possibly endure this for 2 hours and 17 minutes. Andrea sat down next to me and she didn’t even touch me, my girth did not spill into her seat and no one around me had given dirty looks of disgust, nor did I see the terror in anyone’s eyes as I walked down the aisle thinking I might be the one sitting next to them. See, I still sometimes see a 600 pound woman in the mirror.
The final test was to be taken the second I put my hand on the seat belt. I took a deep breath and with my heart racing, I heard the most joyful noise ring out in my small corner of the plane. “CLICK”. The tears were hot filling my eyes, the shame rolled off me and hit my check as I dug into the pocket of my jeans and pulled out the seat belt extender that I had used so, so many times before. It was still rolled up tight, and I shoved it down into the seat back pocket in front of me, and that is where I left it.