"Its just, Mr. Bender, I will need to warn you about her, she left the Order last month. She said she wanted to marry again. "
Perhaps it was the look on my face, um, the color of my face, that gave away the nature of my "friendship" with Sister Nancy Ashton. In any case, Sister Carroll had felt compelled to share this information with me, and I was therefore compelled to respond.
"Why, I don't see how I should need to be warned about Sister Ashton . . . I'm sure if she wants to get m-married again, that is her private affair. Can't see why I should be bothered a bit. I shouldn't care a wit about the r-romantic interests of a very old friend . . . " and my voice trailed off to spite me.
"Of course, Mr. Bender," came the hasty reply. "I wouldn't dream of implying. . . "
When I looked up, Sister Carrol was grinning.
"We were given a forwarding address. Would that be of interest to your highly platonic quest?"
"I reckon so." I responded, feeling in my shirt pocket for my pencil and the scrap of paper.
"Where in Hollywood did she say she was going"
"Oh, no, Mr. Bender. Not Hollywood. She left an address in Chicago."
I boarded my return flight nervous and feeling (except for the creaking remnants of my "coot-ness") like I was 18 again. Clammy. Foolish. Unstoppable. Could she be looking for me? Who else would she want to marry in Chicago? But MARRY? Would she be still wearing a habit? I knew I was being irrational. In my mind I kept picturing Nancy as I had last seen her. She was laughing. Her lips were red. She was draped in black. She was blowing me a kiss. What was I thinking?!? I couldn't talk to Nancy! I hadn't cared about a woman in 40 years. I was an old man. And my ears! Oh, my shameful sorry saggy ears. What could she possibly want with me? I had to do something. Fast. I flipped through the magazines in the seat pouch, at men 50 years younger than I. I got the attention of the flight attendant.
"Miss, could you help me?
a) Do any of these magazines sell zoot suits?."
b) Do you know any places in Chicago that could teach an old man to dance?"
c) What is the quickest way from the airport to the train station?"