I would lie awake in my previous marriage and imagine that a rich, handsome man sporting a private jet would fly in to rescue me. And then, indeed, a wealthy man with his own jet did rescue me: my Stetson man. But I never imagined that the plane would cause jealousy between the two of us. And yet, that is exactly what happened in the first year of our relationship.
In the beginning of our getting-to-know-one-another, I was not allowed to fly on his plane because his wife had the ability to view the flight manifests. She had access to all the flight information, including the plane’s destination, the passengers on board, and even where the awaiting limousine delivered him. Therefore, to be incognito for our trysts, I had to fly commercial. And, although I was able to fly first class, I still felt second class.
There was one time early in our relationship when he chartered a plane because his family was using his personal plane. This was in the beginning when there was still so much newness, and he would lavish me with all the things money could buy. Since he had flown on a plane that his wife was not able to access info on, he was very anxious to share this luxury with me. He asked me if I would like to fly to my sister’s home in another state, clear across the country. I did not want to appear like a gold digger, so to speak, so I opted out and chose instead to stay at the hotel and have dinner. My divorce was not final and I wasn’t sure how I could explain this scene to my sister. In the end, though, he did persuade me to cancel my own travel arrangements and fly to the next destination with him on the chartered flight.
I was excited to be a part of this world with him. I remember that I kept looking at my watch and anxiously thinking we would be late for our flight. He laughed and told me they certainly would not leave without him, that he was the reason for the flight. As you can imagine, I felt a bit silly. I was used to my travel arrangements being scheduled according to a commercial flight. I learned very quickly that chartered flights are not at all like commercial flights, whose doors would shut just fine without me making it to the flight on time.
Our limousine traveled through a set of gates and right up to the plane. When we arrived, the pilots retrieved our luggage, and we walked up the steps of the plane. There was no security to go through. There was no strip search or taking off belts and shoes. And, after only a few minutes, we were seated in our chairs and taking off. We turned our chairs to face one another and the flight seemed to go by too quickly. We talked about a lot. Now that I had flown with him and I was aware of the convenience he had, I was envious and felt second class. He was jealous of the attention he imagined I received when I was in major airports, with all the businessmen everywhere.
No matter how much money and status the Stetson man had achieved, he still had insecurities where I was concerned. The Stetson man would demand information from me each time we met. Who did I talk to? Who hit on me? Did I wait for the plane in the bar? I grew tired of being interrogated each week—it was his choice to remain married. After one such interrogation, I had a conversation with him. Up until this point, he’d had no idea how I felt about him, or the truth about commercial plane travel. He soon found out what the average person experiences at the airport. After this, we decided to fly overseas with another couple.
This was our first commercial flight together. We met at the airport, and it was clear that he’d literally not flown commercial in some time—he didn’t even seem to be aware of airport security. Once we finally started through the ID/boarding pass checkpoint, the lady checking our IDs took my passport and my boarding pass. She stared intently at me, and then shifted her gaze to the Stetson man. When he handed his passport to her, she said, “She must be from Texas, with all that hair and jewelry.” And when the lady with us handed over her passport, the security lady said, “And I hope that is her grandfather and not her husband!” We all chuckled. I was used to those kinds of comments. However, I think the men were taken aback. The Stetson man attempted to go through security with his pocket knife, which, of course sent up red flags. The Stetson man didn’t care much for getting nearly strip searched. He was finally cleared, but then ended up mailing his knife to himself from the airport. In order to do this, he had to leave the security area and then endure the security process all over again. He was simply lost with security procedures. When we finally managed to get to our seats, he told me he appreciated me doing this three or four times a week for him.
As you can see, the two worlds we came from often collided in our relationship, even up in the air.