JustineJames and LulaBell had been kind enough to transport me to the bus station so I could hop the bus to the airport. At one of the stops I had a six hour gap between buses so I decided to explore. I found a beauty shop within a few blocks of the station and resolved to get my hair done. I was no longer Cleo, but now Justine Holmes and I felt the name demanded class, which I had very little of in my present condition. It was a new experience as I had never had my hair done professionally, ever. My mom would simply take household scissors and cut it on occasion.
The beautician had deep scarlet hair that was lopsided; it came down longer on the left side of her face than the right. I assumed she had this done purposely. I wanted something a little more conservative, so I had her give me blond highlights throughout the top. I kept my natural chocolate underneath and she trimmed several inches off the back, shaping it with long layers. She then styled it and handed me a vanity mirror. I no longer looked like homely, abandoned, and poor distraught Cleo, but Justine.
Now it so happened the beauty shop was full service and also did pedi and manicures. I thought that would top off my new look. My feet and hands were in gnarly shape, although by the time she was finished they were so pretty they looked as though they belonged to someone else. I had decided on a French manicure since I was going to France, and I went with the more expensive gel polish, hoping it would, as she had said, last longer. I felt like a movie star and the thought dawned on me that I really was very attractive. Not once before this moment had the realization crossed my mind. For the first time in days, since Einstein’s death, I felt giddy and unusually chic.
My physical makeover now complete, I returned to the bus station and continued my journey. The airport was my next stop. On the ride, I concluded my clothes were definitely not Justine glamour material as they consisted of faded jeans, T-shirts, and a heavy blue hoodie. Justine needed dresses, skirts and fashionable sandals and boots. At the airport I purchased my one way ticket, which consisted of two stops, New York and Moscow, Russia spending a grand total of almost thirty three hours in flight. I had nothing but time, so I shopped, buying a couple elegant outfits before boarding. The airport wasn’t any more confusing than the bus or train stations, although the security process was ridiculous and demeaning. Luckily, I had checked my bag and had only my backpack, which I stuffed into a new classier purse.
I had never flown in a plane and was a little anxious. My mind envisioned an entire scenario: an unforeseen object would crash into us, causing a huge gap of twisted metal beneath our feet to open up, swallowing us, and creating a mass commotion among the passengers. People would be screaming and holding onto seats or other objects to keep from being sucked into the oblivion, and plummeting through the Earth’s thick atmosphere to our deaths below. I kept my purse positioned between my feet after takeoff, with one of the straps around my ankle just in case my scenario rang true. When I plummeted to my death my pack was going with me, which I know, sounds a little silly, but my entire life including important memories were in it.
The airline offered a meal, but it tasted like yuck, nothing like my cooking. For the price of a ticket, it would seem they could serve gourmet food. Somehow I wasn’t hungry anyway. A movie was shown, but headphones cost four dollars. When the stewardess was sidetracked, I took a headphone set. The movie really wasn’t that great and I stuffed the headphones into the pocket sewn into the seat in front of me. Tendrils of warm fluid continued to rise and fall behind my eyes as memories of Einstein burned deep inside.
Refocusing myself into the here and now, I people watched. The man across from me ordered and drank seven tiny bottles of Chardonnay. Two little hellions kitty corner to me jumped all over the plane. A younger boy child was very quiet and well behaved. The children all looked like their parents, but it was difficult to believe they were all related. The parents tried to scold the older two and they would calm down, but then act up again as soon as an opportunity arose. I was sitting next to a man who slept, snoring louder than the jet engine. His head, followed by his body, continued to slump on me. I would push him the other direction and then within minutes he was back. A stocky woman barreled herself through the aisle and disappeared into the restroom just behind my seat. When she reappeared ten minutes later, so did a horribly putrid smell, which nearly caused me to pass out. Forcing my shirt over my mouth and nose, I curled my face into my knees and was able to suck in the fresh smell of fabric softener.
Another person in a couple rows in front of me kept talking on his phone and fiddled with his computer. I couldn’t see what he was doing. Curious, I took a stroll to the restroom in front and attempted to sneak a quick glance. His black eyes caught my look-see, and he closed down his computer. Another passenger, his eyes, shaking and bouncing, kept staring over his shoulder in my direction. I nicknamed him Mr. Dancy Eyes. My instincts or sixth sense kept me away from him. When the plane finally landed in Moscow, Russia I was happy. Happy that I had survived and happy that I could now get off and stretch my legs, even though I still had one more short flight.
My layover turned out not to be so bad and I believe I walked the entire airport simply to stretch my legs, which had been cramped into an uncomfortable position for hours. My new identity and age made it possible for me to buy alcoholic beverages, which were astronomically overpriced as was everything in the airport. A tall, thin man with a distinct case of male pattern baldness creeping across his head sat next to me at the bar, and started up a conversation with me, “Is this seat taken?”
“No,” was my simple response.
“Really, a beautiful lady like you travelling alone?”
My sixth sense told me the best course of action to take was to lie. “Yes, I’m meeting my fiancé in France.”
“I’m on my way there as well. We have a couple hours, would you like another?” He asked.
“Thank you, so what takes you to France?” I asked. I really didn’t care, but was trying to be refined.
“We need to properly introduce ourselves first. I’m Joe and you are?” he said, taking my hand and placing a kiss on it.
“Justine. Nice to meet you Joe.” I responded, regaining control of my hand.
“Well, Justine, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I have some business in Paris. From the corner of my eye, I spotted Mr. Dancy Eyes from the plane. Was it possible he was on his way to Paris too? Ignoring his eyes, which seemed to glare into my bare, broken hearted soul, I continued my conversation with Joe, and accepted his drinks. I drank slowly and cautiously, not wanting to get belligerent before boarding my last flight. It so happened that Mr. Dancy Eyes was on my next flight as well.
Baby Girl Book 1 In the Beginning at Amazon