leaving the country

Truth be told, I’m a nervous traveler. I prefer to be sitting waiting at the gate for an hour. If it’s a plane in question? I want two hours. It’s never necessary, but it’s one part of the trip I can control.

We had 15 minutes this morning to make the train. “I’m gonna miss it.”

Bones shot me a surprised look. “We’re fine. Trains are never early.”

I stared at the clock. “Ten minutes. I’m gonna miss it.” I would have started to paw through my carry on again had I not left it in the trunk. “My bags will be too heavy. I should repack.” I want to touch my passport again, just to make sure it’s really in my bag.

Bones holds my hand.

We’re early.

My suitcase is only 26lbs.

It’s probably best that he’s not going with me. I might make him crazy.

He waits with me for the train. I’m not used to having anyone with me at the start or end of a journey.

“I’d go get you some coffee but I might miss you and the train,” he says.

I’m still surprised by his thoughtfulness.

I try to not paw through my bags.

He kisses me goodbye. I kiss him again and turn away. I never watch him leave. Honestly, I never watch anyone leave me. When I was a kid, I would watch my mom leave after a visit, and I would cry for what seemed like hours. So now I don’t watch people leave, if I can help it.
~~~
We talked last night over a brief dinner about my trip. “Well, if anything happens to me, you’re my beneficiary,” I told Bones. “So you’ll be able to buy that trailer you want!”

He didn’t laugh along with me. “If anything happens, I’m giving away the keys to the haunt. I won’t want it anymore.”

This wasn’t what I expected to hear. “You haunted without me before…”

“I have more fun with you than I ever did before. I don’t want to do it without you.”

I squeezed his hand. “Everything will be fine. Promise.”
~~~~
I’m on an Amtrak train to Chicago, where I’ll have to catch a commuter train to Chicago O’Hare airport. I’ve only done this sort of travel to and from Philly, and so I am thinking wistfully of those journeys and about how I may never make that trip again.

It’s odd how much train yards look so similar…factories in the distance, scrubby determined weeds pushing through rocks and growing, welcome or not.

I review the notes Bones printed off for me that explain how to get from the Amtrak station to the airport.

We’re being delayed by freight trains.

I look at the clock. I have…5 hours to get to the terminal.

I wish it were ten hours.
~~~~
We reach the Chicago Amtrak station and I am completely blocked from getting my suitcase until everyone else has departed from the train.

“I ONLY HAVE FOUR HOURS!!!” I text Bones. “I hate Chicago.”

He is probably wishing I’d left my phone at home as I’d planned on doing.

I find the public transit train that will take me to the airport. Lordy, this is already a long journey.
~~~~
I get to the terminal so early that there’s no assigned departure gate yet. That’s pretty much perfect in my book.

I’ve overthought a lot of this trip and have probably made varied friends crazy with questions. I have multiple copies of my itinerary and visa paperwork. I’m wearing my skeleton crew vest from Grisly Gothic Gables, so I can keep all my paperwork and my passport on me without the worry of a purse. I have clothing in my carry on in case my luggage gets lost in transit. I’ve packed extra shoes. I have protein bars and Airborne and immodium just in case.

I’m a nervous traveler but I love flying, even though my left ear often reacts badly to landing, can block up leaving me partially dead for a while and can be painful all the way down to my collarbone. Every flight is a gamble. This time, I leave the plane only moderately deaf.
~~~~
Our team is meeting in L.A. I get my suitcase and am told I have to walk 10 minutes or so to the international terminal and go through check-in and security again. I only have three hours. But that’s more time than the boys have. Obviously the Chinese clients got the cosmic message to give the neurotic American lots of extra time. Thank you, God.

I send the boss a text about having to walk a gazillion miles, but I’m here. He doesn’t understand what I’m saying until he’s told he has to make the same journey. Which means the boys all end up racing to the terminal and arriving just as boarding has started.

This means that J hasn’t had a chance to hit an ATM. Which means no money for me. Which means I’m leaving the country with about $3 in my pocket. Which is not my ideal plan…

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