She never said anything when she flew, just put her tray table in the upright and locked position as instructed and closed her eyes during takeoff, which she’d done even when she was a stewardess, back when they were still called stewardesses. She smirked to herself. It was nicer now—they didn’t make the women wear four-inch heels or put their hair up, and they hired men, though most of them, it turned out, were fruits. It was good, she told herself, that the world had undergone these sorts of changes, but there were days when she missed the ruby red lipstick, the hairsprayed beehives, the icy cocktails in the left hand of a man who reached for her with his right.
Her granddaughter says “that’s ----ed up” but her granddaughter also doesn’t brush her hair or own a pair of pantyhose. It wasn’t that she was against equality, she just argued that life held more mystery and charm in those days. Her granddaughter argued that all that mystery and charm was fake, and prevented people from pursuing their true goals and dreams. She took this to mean that she was supposed to have wanted something besides her career in the air, but she never did. She earned her own money, she married a pilot, they had beautiful children, who brought her grandchildren, some grateful, some not.
The plane sped up, preparing to nose its way into the stratosphere. She reached for her granddaughter’s hand and pressed it between her own as they shot into the sky.