Once, I ran in to Rowdy and Piper in an airport bar in Marrakech. Time doesn’t have much meaning in airports – I was having evening drinks, but they were having breakfast, Piper squinting at the noise and bustle, Rowdy poring over a stack of maps and brochures. I got the feeling he had woken up too early, ready with an itinerary, while she had hoped for a leisurely morning with coffee and the paper. She met every yip of Let’s go see this! or We have to go there! with a groan or a hard look, but Rowdy was undeterred, pulling her along after. She scooped up the remnants of her breakfast and followed with that ghost of a smile I know well.
I once ran in to Toby in an airport bar in Marrakech – coincidentally, both having grown tired of partisan politics and commercialism, we ended up crossing paths thousands of miles away. We locked eyes for a moment in surprise, both disappointed at the interruption in solitude, but nodded once in understanding and went our separate ways, happy at kindred, and socially distant, spirits. Plenty of room to lose ourselves in foreign culture without running askance of each other again, content in knowing the other was around.
I once ran in to Lucy in an airport bar in Marrakech – she was even more surprised than me, eyes wide and happy for a familiar face. I pieced together her trail and found she’d followed her nose to the airport, onto a baggage truck, and into the cargo hold of an international flight to be dumped out on lands exotic. We got her a new ticket, a seat next to mine, and she danced onto native soil, Miss Kitt waiting for us at baggage claim, so worried and grateful her little traveler had made it home.
I once ran in to Ziggy in an airport bar in Marrakech – he was just sitting on a stool across the bar, head high in that imperious way he has, no sign that he recognized me until I noticed the legs of the stool shimmying because his tail was wagging, not in a rambunctious way, just a little wiggle of recognition, a canine equivalent of Cool Guy Nod. What he was doing there, he didn’t say, and I didn’t ask, content to share a drink and an evening somewhere fresh, exotic ladies sending us drinks before parting ways and disappearing into the night.
I once ran in to Mattie in an airport bar in Marrakech – she was surrounded by fans, lit by dozens of flashbulbs, smiling the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t shoulder my way through the crowd to see her or pay respects, but I did send a drink her way, to join the other glasses waiting for her on the bar. She was the talk of the town my whole visit, in the paper, on TV and the radio, the whole city abuzz, blessed by her appearance. Lexington has no idea the darling secret they hold in Mattie.
I once ran in to Cocco in an airport bar in Marrakech – we stared at each other for a moment, heads cocked to the side on wonder, but she shouted Squirrel! and darted off before I could ask what she was doing there. I didn’t see her the rest of my trip, but I did see articles in the local paper about a dark, four-legged ghost dashing through mosques, overturning carts, and howling through the night. Before I left, there was a report on the sharp drop in the rodent population of the city, no explanation available.
I once ran in to EmmyLou in an airport bar in Marrakech, both in town for the annual TreatLovers conference, surprised and pleased at knowing someone so far from home. Oh, what a time we had, hand in hand through ancient streets, touring cultural sites, admiring the architecture, but mostly sampling treats in the convention hall, swiping samples in the local markets, and finding ourselves in homes stuffing ourselves on the local fare. We shared a flight home but had to buy an extra seat for all the weight we’d gained – worth it!