Saturday, February 25, 2017

Final Boarding Call

At the gate with time to spare, time for snacks, time to reflect on a week away and a return to normality, we were remarkably unruffled by the stresses of air travel--the taking off of shoes and the filling of bins and the management of bags through assorted terrains and temperatures. Unruffled, until that moment in the jetway, between the terminal and the plane, when suddenly, a jacket was missing. Not a generic, buy for the trip, jacket, but a commemorative, can't get it ever again, jacket. And before I knew it, I had sailed past the agent checking boarding passes to that row of seats where we had sat so unruffled for all that time. There were other unruffled people, and the other people's bags. And among them, no jacket. And a plane that would be leaving, and a me that was not on it. And so, with a look on my face of stress and despair and end-of-vacation motherhood, I started back toward the gate agent. But as I glanced back in hopelessness, a tall man in a checked shirt was holding up a jacket. And in the folds of black in his hand, I saw the orange and yellow of a logo. And in a split second, on feet I hadn't even told to move, I was taking the jacket from him, repeating, practically through tears, "That's it, that's it! Thank you so much!" And then I ran to the gate, never to see this "save the day" stranger again. Until it turned out that he had the seat right next to ours. There were more thank you's, and then the silence that exists between strangers. And the better, but not as unruffled as before, knowledge that the jacket was in the bag under the seat in front of me.

Sometimes, life's drama comes in the most mundane of places. And yet, if we're lucky, just in time to answer that final boarding call...

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