Tales from the Road

Stories from fellow travelers last weekend, all of us stuck for a short while at an airport:

  • the young black lady beside me, whose name was Tuttu (short for her real, Kenyan name), decided I was okay when I remarked as I climbed the stool that I needed either longer legs or a shorter stool. Tuttu was friends with the bartender and told her, "She's good people." We talked about her mother, who lived in Kenya and was getting her Ph.D. in psychology, about the relationship between mothers and daughters, her job as a mortgage litigator, and many other things before she had to leave for her flight, paying for my wine on her way out. 
  • the young man on the other side of me, who works concessions at baseball games, flying from one event to another.
  • a woman who said she was a traveling nurse, on her way to North Carolina for her next job.
  • a very young, thin girl who arrived sobbing. She'd fallen at her hotel and hurt her leg but had to come on to the airport only to find she'd missed her flight because of the traffic. She was in pain, stressed so badly she was shaking all over. We all talked with her and tried to calm her down. She said, "I was only 25% stable before, but now I must be down to about 22%." Poor young thing, I felt so bad for her. She ordered a glass of wine, and the baseball concession worker put it on his tab. He and the traveling nurse were still talking to her when I left.
  • before getting on the plane I picked up some water at a concession stand. The young man was friendly and helpful, with a great smile. "Where are you originally from?" I asked. "Bangladesh," he replied. "A very long way away. Welcome to the US," I said. His grin went from ear to ear. "Thank you, thank you!" 
  • As we waited on the shuttle bus, a couple told me they had been to watch their son in a baseball playoff. They are hoping for a college scholarship for him. Tired from a long trip just to get to the airport, and facing an hour long drive when they landed, they were still beaming as they talked about their 6 children and their hopes for them.
  • As I sat down in my seat on the airplane, the lady beside turned slightly away, huddled over her phone. She never spoke for the entire flight, and I wondered, what story does she have to tell? I will never know, but her face spoke of sadness and stress. 

And one last story, this one from the flight over. I opened the magazine provided by the airline to find the crossword puzzle, hoping no one else had done it. Someone had--or had tried to. It was impossible to complete because there were so many errors in the answers the person before me had written down, but they had left some notes on the page:

"I love you, Pop."
"I know you're here."
"Go with me tomorrow."

So much conveyed in those few words. We used to call our father Pop too. Whoever this person was, I hope that whatever they were facing the next day went well for them. Surely it did, with their Pop looking over them.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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