The 15th of December 1998 – Kansas City, Missouri

(found under Aunt Cindy’s plastic evergreen)

Dear Aunt Cindy,

I’m just writing to let you know that I got home just fine. Thanks again for letting me stay at yours this past week. Too bad I couldn’t have worked around my schedule a bit better. It would have been nice to spend Christmas together.

Anyway, I had a pretty stressful flight. Everything was on time, and I was even early, but still it was pretty stressful.

I’d like to blame you for it, Aunt Cindy, but I guess it’s as much my fault as it could have been yours. You see, you got it in my head about my luggage. My suitcase fit in the overhead bin on the way to yours, but for some reason that fact was just swept away by the look on your face and that doubting inflection in your voice. “That case looks big. Are ya sure it’ll fit?”

So suddenly I was afraid. I measured it before I left. You were asleep and it was late at night when I snuck downstairs and took your yardstick. The case was eight and a half inches deep and twenty two inches tall and fourteen and a half inches wide. That was all okay, except I checked my ticket and it said that carry-on luggage could only be fourteen inches wide. It was half an inch too wide!

I thought I’d get stopped for it, some security guard or a gate attendant pulling me aside and telling me that my “case looks big,” that’d it might be best if I just check it. And what if I got on the plane and couldn’t find a place to put it? What would I do then? How embarrassing!

But I got through everything all right and sat down at my gate. I was right in front of the big window, looking out over the runway. I finally relaxed, staring out that window and watching the airplanes take off and land, thinking of a time when staring out a window watching airplanes take off and land was enough to make me jump and shout with glee.

But airports are so nerve wracking. There are too many people, too many rules, too many deadlines.

Then I get called to board, and I get on the plane. I slip my case overhead and I slide into 17B. So, after hours of anxiety and worry about whether my suitcase would fit in the overhead bin despite being half an inch larger than allowed, nothing mattered.

And then I got home, and I unpacked, and I got into bed. I really don’t like travelling, Aunt Cindy. I really don’t because I come home, eventually, I always do. And I settle in my bed that first night back, and I think “Is this where I belong?”

Thanks again for having me to stay.

Merry Christmas,

Lucille

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