Airports and Rock Gyms and Stateless

(August, 2018)


I had a moment in the rock climbing gym
where the night breeze from the open roll-up warehouse door touched my damp scalp
and I thought of airports.
I thought of the first cool breath in the parking lot by the airport,
where you're coming or going—I couldn't tell which movement I was feeling.

A very handsome man was watching me.

When I looked at him, he gave a single, scornful laugh and looked away.
I was bewildered and a bit hurt.
Briefly, I considered tapping him on the shoulder and asking
what the fuck that was about.
but I didn’t feel that it warranted such a reaction.

I wandered the gym. I finished my only successful 3 route
and watched him palming the start holds of a 2 as I walked away.
Climbing better than him made me feel smug and powerful.

I knew what music I wanted to listen to as I drove home, which is rare.
I put on the Stateless album, Matilda.

Once, I told a friend that Stateless had done the best that music could do
and I didn't understand why people were still making more of it.
It still felt like a factual statement.

I rolled the windows of my car down,
trying to recapture whatever subtle lift, motion of transition,
first gasp before the plunge away from earth, good airport-feeling I'd felt before.

It came to me softly.
It lifted the sweaty underside of my collapsing ponytail, buzzed in the bass line.
I found myself smiling.
It felt like I was singing along.
Maybe I was.