Denise was nimble; Denise was quick!
By Jane Malin
I spied Denise’s gazelle-like form striding toward me in the Detroit airport. We were meeting there for the second leg of our journey to the client site in Louisville. I just smiled as I took in her 5-foot, 11-inch frame with hip bones that rose past my shoulders. Her waist was the size of my thigh, and it sported a leather fanny pack. She had checked her luggage. Her long blonde hair tumbled around her shoulders like wavy velvet ribbons.
Now I, on the other hand, was what I called “stable.” My low center of gravity ensured I would never blow away in a wind storm. Denise and I probably even weighed the same amount. Unfortunately, God got waylaid when I was only five-foot-four. Seasoned traveler that I was, I hauled my wheeled carryon with my laptop strapped on, a cross-body handbag, and my winter coat. I looked like Brighty of the Grand Canyon. But hey, I would have all my belongings once we landed in Kentucky!
Denise was an engineer also. Her flight out of Minneapolis was delayed, so we were rushing to catch our next flight. We rode the escalator down to the tunnel leading to Terminal C. I was grateful for the minute to catch my breath. Once in the tunnel, we hoofed it down the center aisle.
Denise glanced to her right as we ran alongside the moving sidewalk.
“You know,” she declared, “we could make a lot better time if we were on that thing!”
“Uh-huh,” I grunted, as I took 3 steps to each of hers, rearranging my jacket over my elbow and gasping for air.
Abruptly, I sensed this breeze as her boots flew by my ear. She did a little scissor kick in mid-flight. Her beautifully manicured hand grabbed the moving handrail as she pole vaulted over the railing. Her nimble 6-foot body was fully extended.
“Oh my god!” some woman yelled from the other side of the tunnel. I was speechless, jaw dangling.
Time stood still for that split second, and I saw Denise’s face registering the myriad ramifications of her most recent decision. Her hand rode down the moving railing, opening space for her face to plant itself in the void. Her torso landed with a thud, and her legs straddled the rail. There was an odd, muffled noise that escaped her mouth, indecipherable by all measures. Thankfully, her hair concealed her face and the drool that was about to coat the wall.
“What the hell are you doing?” I bellowed before compassion could kick in. “And what on earth did I say to make you think I could do that?”
I scraped her off the end of the sidewalk. I helped her to her feet, relieved to see that she was disheveled, but laughing. We both knew this was going to be an interesting contract.
“Umm, Denise? Let me teach you the finer points of a fulcrum.”