Jason Lawrence Bell
Stories
Search single story

01-26-20

01-26-20.               AUDIO AVAILABLE SOON

Sonya walked over to the airport information counter and requested the latest information on her flight delay. She has been waiting 5 hours for her plane to arrive to take her to San Francisco. But weather wouldn’t cooperate and heavy rain fall has blocked access to the airport landing strip. Every time the rain seemed to slow, the wiry travels get their hopes up, but are soon let down by more pouring rain. Sonya had already finished reading the book she brought and the convenience store was closed, so she could only listen to her music.

The waiting room was full of delayed travelers, all frustrated like her but making the most of it. Sonya often entertained herself with ‘people watching’ as she called it. She liked watching people when they were unaware. She imagined their lives and why they are traveling. And made up little scenarios of possible reasons they are at the airport. Sonya set her personal music list for random play, made herself comfortable and hit play.

She noticed an older gentleman sitting alone. He looked kind of blue collar. With no wedding ring or companion, she thought he seemed liked a quiet loner. Then the first song started playing. It was Desperado by the Eagles. Sonya thought the music was perfect background music for the lone stranger. As the music played and Sonya watched the loner, she began seeing different images. She somehow saw the man as a young boy. He was an only child but very sensitive to tension. She saw his loud volatile father scaring him and his passive mother allowing it. Then the boy became a man and fell in love with a sweet lady, but soon after she left him for his best friend. Sonya saw his pain. And watched as he swore never to hurt like that again. As the song ended, the lone travelers image returned. Sonya felt sadness as she realized how narrowly restrictive the loner had made his life out of the fear of pain.

Then a young mother with her toddler daughter caught Sonya’s eye. The daughter slept in the mother’s lap. But the mother was deep in thought as she rocked her child. Sonya started imagining what the mother may be thinking as the next song began. It is ‘The Rose’. Sonya was surprised that the song was appropriate for the mother-daughter story. She imagined the young mother struggling with love questions. She noticed the mothers ring finger without a ring, but with distinct marks that a ring was there shortly before. The mother covered her daughter with unconditional love it was obvious to anyone. However, the mothers love for the father had conditions. Lines must have been crossed and pain resulted. Now Sonya saw the mother standing at a crossroads, desperately trying to understand love and family and compromise. And just as the song came to an end, the mother stood up with the child still in her arms. While pulling her suit case behind her, Sonya watched the mother throw away her plane tickets. The mother headed toward the exit, and Sonya imagined that she decided to stay and fight for her family. Sonya wished her well.

Sonya moved to a different seat to find new faces for her music. Once situated Sonya looked up to scan the room. She didn’t notice that she sat across from window overlooking the air field. Since it was late at night, the window was black and worked like a large mirror. Sonya sat there starting into her own eyes. She clearly saw herself sitting alone in the airport.

Then the music began. It was ‘I am Woman’. Sonya couldn’t recall adding this song to her play list, but here it was. Sonya immediately felt touched. As she scanned her image in the window, she thought about her life as a woman. Many positives and many negatives came to her mind. Sex was great, but sexual harassment was horrible, and Sonya, like most women, had too many intrusions. The work force seemed like a mine field that women were doomed to walk through for a fraction of the pay. And if a woman dares try to play with the big boys, the mine fields become denser. And if a woman wants children and a career, the extra work load is usually on the woman’s shoulders. The song that Sonya always thought was a little corny, now held deep meaning.

Sonya felt waves of sorrow as she knew that she never participated in women’s issues. Though women fighters were always pushing for change that came slowly, Sonya never contributed. She even voted against women taking office. But now she sees how she benefitted from their hard work and accepted their improvements, but never felt connected. Possibly it was the competition she felt from her sisters that alienated her from women, but that’s only a tired excuse. Sonya was a confident, talented and respectable person. She could see in the window someone she is proud of, but she also saw the bit of sadness that surrounded her eyes.

As the song began to end, Sonya realized that she accepted all parts of herself, except the woman. She could hear in her mind the harsh conclusions. She was unfairly saddled with a female body to fight in a man’s world. She felt inferior simply by her gender. She heard judgements that started her crying. And as she looked back in the mirror, she saw her woman. A woman of consequence, a woman of capabilities. A woman worthy of love. Especially self-love. Sonya knows she is a fighter. So, thru her tears she made a pledge to let her woman express. Express thru activism and involvement. Sonya took her iPad and began searching for anything ‘women’s’ that she could join. Just as the song was fading to, I am Woman. Peace