It Was So Cold
The snow was swirling in 70 mile an hour winds across the flat underblack of the nightlit, airport. Oddly this airport in this American city not even really right on any border had spawned kidnapping and murder and made getting on a plane dependent on searches by poorly paid Black women who seemed to possess a cultural willingness to pry into baggage and look at everything in the travelers pockets as compensation for their lack of pay or power as if they had become perfectly suited to be nosey and enjoyed making people uncomfortable and enforcing the destruction of civility or privacy, as a perfect personal revenge on a society that was pledged to hatreds.
He drove the 5,000 gallon fuel truck across the tarmac ramp seeing it as the place he was working and feeling like a witness to his own work alone then in the cold where white snow moved like a herd of white snakes.
It was cold and beautiful and it inspired in him awe because it was beautiful.
The Mac truck pulled the 5,000 gallon tank stretched out behind him like all the pain in his back. Always he had to think about what he was dragging behind him. Once he had nearly crumpled up the wing of a GII when turning in the sunlight in Fort Lauderdale where he had done much the same job in different weather.
There had been differences. Fort Lauderdale had been a vacation town where he had fueled the private planes of rich white people who flew in for vactions away from the cold he was now working in.
The Sun had beat down there in Fort Lauderdale so that your sun glasses were part of your clothing and you wore them everyday all day from morning to sundown. There it had been bright and hot.
He knew it would be cold outside the oily insides of the cab of the truck.
There was nothing to think about but what he was seeing which he knew to be another extreme and therefore worthy of memory.
What was the point of remembering anything?
If something, some experience did not have the ingredient of the extreme he saw little reason to click the shutter of his brain. It was as if if you need a picture of someone you love, you don’t really love them enough. If you really love them they will come to you in a dream.
He knew he had then everything that a man gets to have. He knew that he could think of something important as he drove across the airport in the cold night of blowing snow. He was sure it was all an adventure that would end with his success no matter the pain.
He was seeing three women who were all interesting and liked him no matter his or their station in life.
His theory was that three women was the correct number for a single man. They then amounted to one, and he had joked that, "Yeah, then you are seeing one, and have one on the way in, and one on the way out."
His favorite was married, Japanese and English and freckled and lithe and he liked the way she looked at him as if he was something actually to watch as he had watched some women and just watching them had been enough.
Sometimes she would show up at his door and stand there at the door and look at him like a cat that wasn’t sure whether or not it wanted to come in and had to be assured that it was welcome before it would enter a room to be petted.
He hadn’t really meant to have her at all, but she had wanted him and he had liked her style of hats and gloves and willingness to see him in his poor room of nothing but a suitcase and a mattress and a clock and a radio.
He knew better than to mess with a married woman and had looked at hands looking for rings after he had asked a woman out before looking and her husband had shown up where he was working on a sunny day and pulled out an engraved 45 and showing it to him had said that he was very happily married since when she had told him she was married he had blurted out, "Happily I hope."
On the ramp the light was bright reflecting on and from the white of the snow that was in the air and on the ramp still or moving. The 737s, and the 727s and the DC9s and the MD80s all parked sitting there, their tails and their bodies turned away from the wind that blew the crystal snow like smoke on a pictured blackboard.
He knew his life was being written for him and hardly cared at that moment to do anything other than look at it.
Out the window of the truck it looked cold. He knew it was cold. He knew he would get out of the truck cab and drag out the hose and engage the spumeing pump as the sloppy diesel pumped two and a half thousand gallons up into the wings of a thing that was beautiful to him moving or standing still.
He had had that job in that place for two years and that had been as long as he had had most any other job and he was thinking about how to get out, go somewhere else. Somewhere else was always there to go to and he was a tourist and a spy in his own life and like a sailor he expected forever to only visit and he did not yet know that he would eventually get old and tired and be stuck someplace that he did not yet know the name of and thought he could still name his own life.
He did not care about anything than it was beautiful and cold. It was so beautiful that he became nothing but awed memory.
He achieved in the context of the night and his relations and his sight and the feel of the wind on his skin, face, hands feet, covered or uncovered a oneness with machines and was a robot and a servant to machines that needed him to give them fuel.
The controllers in their tower were tired, and their eyeballs floating in caffeine could see the truck move from one plane to the next if they looked out the windows.
There was no reason for anyone to talk to anyone outloud.
It was cold, very cold.