The United Airlines clerk looked puzzled.
“Um, you want to go to Boston?” he click-clacked on his keyboard. His furrowed brow told me my flight wasn’t going to depart any time soon.
“Not from this airport. You’re in Richmond. Your flight leaves from Washington, DC.”
Thankfully, we were driving my mother’s Crown Victoria, the type of car reserved for sheriffs and other persons of justice who need to drive fast.
By some miracle, we made it to the right airport – on backroads — in record time. We actually did the speed limit and somehow the traffic lights gods were with us.
Rushing through the massive international airport, I even made it to the gate in time. Only to learn that the flight was delayed by an hour. Then another. Then another.
We got on the shuttle to the airplane, only to be asked to turn around. Thunderstorms hindered take-off so we waited another hour. Then we got to board.
I sat next to a lovely student of veterinarian medicine. She lived on the island of Grenada and was as relaxed as I had ever seen a person be.
The airplane hopscotched across the sky. My guess was the pilots were trying to dodge the lightning. At one point, I asked her if I could hold her hand.
“Sure,” she smiled.
In that moment, an enormous lightning bolt flashed dangerously close to the left engine. I saw my life roll before my eyes to the beat of the thunderclaps. I really thought we were going to die.
I am not the greatest fan of air turbulence and I was grateful for her kindness. It had been, after all, quite a day. And I thought it wouldn’t be nice to end it with a crash landing or anything like that.
“You sure are calm,” I quivered as I eyed more lightning from my window seat.
“Once you’ve lived on an island, where everything moves slowly, you just learn to go with things. We’ll be fine. Trust me.”
Her depth of belief moved me. Sure enough, we landed safely and I invited her to my book signing the following week.
“Oh that’s my birthday!” she exclaimed.
I thought for sure she wouldn’t show.
But she did.
I will never forget that moment. Island time made her happy. I wanted what she had. So I started to think more carefully about how I perceived things.
Wrong airport? No problem. Get to the right one, then see what happens.
When you’re open like that, you meet the most amazing people. I’m looking forward to my island time this week. Kissing the Spanish sun is exactly what the doctor ordered.