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Flying Alone

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 2.50.21 PM

V is for Vulnerable. That’s the name of the book I just saw at the airport bookstore and that’s me. Vulnerable. Alone.  Many people walk along the wide corridors of the Nashville airport.  Walk with partners.  With spouses.  Friends.  Children.  I walk alone.

Will someone help me, or better yet, take my carry-on suitcase out of my hands and lift it to the overhead compartment?  I envision an empty overhead bin with the latch open and I heave-ho my forty-pound suitcase two feet above my shoulders.  Who am I kidding? I can barely lift 20 pounds on the shoulder push machine at the YMCA.  I should’ve checked my bag. So what if I wait 20 minutes for it at the Denver airport?

And it’s raining.  I hate flying on stormy days.  The plane ride will be like a racecar on a county gravel road fill with potholes.   What if I throw up?  I never had motion sickness until five years ago.  I hate throwing up. Wonder who will be sitting beside me?   Watch the clock.  Go to bathroom one last time before boarding the plane.  At the water fountain, I refill my water bottle that I bought.  How could I forget to bring a water bottle from home?  $2.61 wasted on a bottle of water.

“’Mam,” a young man stands behind me when I turned from the water fountain.  “Aren’t you from Cookeville?” I nod and smile. “Yes, I am,” I say.

“I’m Joe Bulow and I thought I recognized you,” he says.  I tell him my name and that his mother and I are in a writing group and a book club together.  Joe, his wife, Wendy, and their two young sons were traveling on the same flight to Denver.  They live in Colorado Springs, her hometown.  I’m not alone!  I know someone’s name on the plane and his mother is my friend.

From two boarding gates away, I see that my flight is boarding.  I get to my assigned boarding place just as the line moves toward the person collecting boarding passes. A young couple, with moon eyes only for each other, walks in front of me; a teenage girl behind me.  Not good prospects for lifting my heavy bag.  Surely there’s a strong man on this flight.  I look for an aisle seat- not too far back. I have to carry this heavy bag through the aisle.

Just four rows back, I see a woman sitting by the window, two empty seats beside her and an empty overhead bin. I throw my oversized purse in the aisle seat and began to lift my suitcase.  Did the man offer to help or did I ask for help? He’s not young, older than me.  I hold one end of the bag.  “Just let me do it,” he says.  His reply to my thanks is a big smile, a nod, and “You’re welcome.”

The woman sitting beside me flies often and her daughter is a Tennessee Tech student. We quickly make connections.   The airplane dips and bumps until finally, forty minutes into the flight, it flies smoothly.  No more rain and dips and bumps.

Now I wonder will that same gentleman get my heavy suitcase down for me when it’s time to we get off the plane?   Why fret? Things seem to work out.


One Response

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