i'm still here

I flew home last night, finally, after three plane changes and many mechanical problems with Delta Airlines at LaGuardia. After years of trying to hang in there with Delta, I am itching to write an open letter to them, and maybe I will. In the meantime, the view out my window, from seat 41F, as the sun set, was a perfect coda to a long, busy, wonderful week.
I woke up this morning in my own bed. The sun is shining, the grass needs cutting, the house is topsy turvy -- two of my children are moving to various places, and boxes are everywhere, in a holding pattern. Courtesy of one of the relocators, we have inherited a sweet new kitty. Meet Shiva. She's getting acclimated. So are Gus and Cleebo. Now we become a three-cat family.

I met Pete on the plane yesterday. We were both bone weary by the time we found ourselves next to one another for the trip home. What do you see in this face?

I see the weariness of the long-distance, much-delayed traveler, but there is more.

Pete will be 74 on Wednesday. His brother died last week. Pete flew in for the funeral in Dobbs Ferry, NY, and was flying home to New Mexico when I met him. He is now the last member of his immediate family, a life-long bachelor and a cook extraordinaire, who, over the course of our long conversation, gave me his Italian family's secrets to spaghetti sauce.

Because of our flight delays, Pete missed his connection in Atlanta. I texted Jim when we landed, and he met us at the top of the escalator by baggage claim. "Hey, Pete!" he said, as they shook hands. Together we sat for a while at Houlihans with Pete, who would be staying at the nearby Comfort Inn overnight, courtesy of Delta Airlines, and flying home early this morning.

We drank our cranberry juice, while Pete sipped at his Johnny Walker Black. 

"You gonna be okay?" I asked him.

He smiled at me. "I just lost my brother," he said. "But I'm still here."

I woke up this morning thinking of Pete winging home.  "I'm still here," I said out loud. I thought of all the boxes in Irene, and all the children moving here and there, all the construction in the basement as we create the last finished space down there, and all the topsy-turviness of life. I'm still here. We are all still here.

Life is good.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Howdy. Moderating comments to prevent spam. I'm sure you're not that. Thanks for your thoughts! Write on, warrior on. Make art.