I sat next to Adele on a plane and she bought me a house

by Patrick Holloway

I’d gotten a fluky upgrade, moved from 38C to 4B.
She— a stranger still, was already sitting, a silver
studded handbag at her feet, her body turned
to the window. I already felt out of place
so didn’t say a word. She smelt of raspberries.
I took out my laptop to write, turning the odd time
To see her right cheek lit up by her phone. When
The air hostess brought us our drinks I noticed
It was her, she noticed, too, that I noticed
It was her. I fumbled for words. She thanked me
And we spoke a little about Ireland. Later,
At 36000 feet, she asked me what I was writing
And I told her. She asked me to read it for her
So I did. I focused on my voice, trying
To steady it. When I finished reading
She was crying and said, Fuck me,
That’s just so beautiful. I was warmer
Than I had ever been. Then we spoke about
The complexities of living. I told her I wanted
To live a hundred lives all at once. She said
She wanted to live just one life, but completely.
I told her about the impossibility of mortgages,
The struggles of finishing the novel. She said,
Nonchalant, I’ll buy you a house. I laughed
And said, Well that would solve everything.
She dozed a little and I tried not to stare.
When she woke it was my mother and she
Kept opening and closing her purse saying
I know I had it here somewhere. Her face
Was her own but soft as a child’s and I said
It’s ok, don’t worry, we’ll find it, whatever
It was. No, she said, it’s gone, forever now.

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