Day 1 – The Airport
The ticket was relatively inexpensive.
$375 to find my salvation. Not a bad deal.
”Buy the ticket and then you’ll have a month. Whatever money you come up with, that’s what you are bringing. It’s the only way you will ever do it. It’s the only way you can ever afford to go anywhere.”
Amy was right.
I had bought the ticket and thanks to a loophole in the Macy’s return policy I had come up with $800 to cover my month abroad. I felt prepared. Rent was paid and upon my return, my roommate would keep me fed. So I quit my job – took my cash – fired up the Ford Falcon and headed for the airport.
I never ate that moussaka. It was the best dish I knew how to make. I got the recipe from work and I used ground turkey instead of ground beef. It’s really good and I thought of it; now, sitting cold in the microwave; as we barreled into short term parking.
I was late.
OF COURSE I was late.
Why wouldn’t I be?
I had had days to pack and had planed for this trip like I was being launched into space.
Why would I get there early?
Give me two good reasons that would warrant more than an hour of my time at the Atlanta International Airport?
The Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport was at this time, the 2nd busiest airport in the world. The International concourse is the farthest concourse of said airport.
The French/Swiss Air flight that would lay me over in Amsterdam & then drop me in Prague was the last gate of said concourse.
The Atlanta airport blows!
Per the instruction of the lady at the check in counter – I would have to carry my bags onto the flight and we would have to RUN! So off like rockets we went with 2 bags the size of me in tow.
Immediately upon stepping onto the moving sidewalk I realized I left my purse at the Security Gate. This was a fucking nightmare already. My roommate grabbed both of my bags and circled back to security. Now I alone could stop this plane!
I had not ran, truly ran anywhere for any reason since high school gym but I did it! I ran the whole fucking way! I could not believe I actually did it! I ran like my life depended on it and I made it…but there was no yellow tape at my finish line. No marching band greeted me as I stepped toward the and a table full of medals and red Gatorade. No, there were none of these things. There was only Her.
And She was telling me that “I could not bring my bags on and that the gate was closed and…”
So here is something....
Life as a whole has been kind to me. I did not grow up with a lot of adversity that needed to be overcome. I did not have to fight for many things during my adolescence. For the most part, I had gotten through pretty much unscathed. That said the fact remains that I, in the arena of the verbal argument, am a worthy adversary. By the age of 24, I had developed both form and structure and was becoming a master of my craft. I am unwavering in point, immune to distraction and I have the patience to see it through. I am unsure where this ability came from – it was just there one day.
As I geared up for this next extemporaneous debate, there was sudden burst of sweat on my forehead. “Wow,” I thought, “I feel REALLY hot”
I woke up, flat on my back, legs spread, arms spread, coat open, CDs everywhere, shit everywhere.
You know when Wylie Coyote gets hit by that train?
Just like that.
“Has she done this before?” She asked my roommate. They were standing at my feet talking over me – not yet realizing that I was awake. I looked past their conversation to see 2 paramedics coming in from the tarmac with a gurney and that little red suitcase. How long had I been laying here?
The February air rushed in with them and it jolted me as I sat up. It felt good. I just needed a few more minutes with that air - I declined the human assistance.
I don’t remember standing up. But once I did the world of French/Swiss Air was mine for the taking! I could leave now. I could fly out tomorrow. They would, of course, check my bags. Whatever I wanted!
“I want to go now,” I said. I could not go through this again.
Once on the plane I realized that one thing was certain – my fainting must have really freaked out my roommate. With all of these offers on the table; he didn’t think to demand a first class upgrade for me? Phillip was always demanding things; this was his gifted ability. There was certainly a lost look in his eyes when I hugged him goodbye.
The stewardesses were attuned to my situation.
Once seated they were very quick with the apple juice and pillows. Gravity pulled at my spine– the speed of the plane push my back into the seat. I Love the feeling when the wheels disconnect from the ground and it is confirmed – You Are Gone! I pulled out my Mary Ann Williams, “Return to Love” and was ready to begin the journey for my true self. But reading was going to be out of the question. During my impromptu nap I lost my right contact.
Twelve and a half hours to go… Rock!
It was not until I returned 30 days later that two things were made clear to me:
*I had had a seizure that day at Gate 17.
*If time travel or premonition were possible – If through an alternate universe I could have been given an emotional glimpse of what was ahead of me. It surely would have left me in the exact state in which I began this trip: floored, flat on my back and sweating.