Until Next Time

Transcribed from my journal:

“8/3/10 United Airlines Flight 202

SFO–>LAX

Last nigth was punctuated with goodbye hugs to teammates. Promises to visit U of I ere long, before school starts. I will miss, oh how I will miss these people. Looking forward to training rides with the geographically similar ones. Visits and another marathon and/or triathlon in Champaign/Urbana are very likely. Said my last goodbye and packed and slept.

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Up today at five, taking a train right there outside the church on Judah street, N inbound to Civic Center, then the BART to SFO. Half-awake and moving forward like a robot. The standard cluelessness regarding unfamiliar public transit lines: first pay here, then transfer here. This is free but this is $8.10. Adrian is a pilot so the airport is a routine experience by now. Square peg, square hole past ticketing and security toward my flight.

At gate 81 I am third on the standby departures list: HUD/M on the LCD screen. A bagel and coffee later, it’s exactly one minute to boarding and I am summoned by the ticketing agent: “Standby passenger Hoo-dets.” I board with seating group two, an exit row and window seat to myself, highlighting the transition from “Teammate” to “Individual.”

I finish my book shortlyafter take-off. This is the fifth book I’ve read this summer, with most of the others lent out along the way: Cuckoo’s Nest for Priscilla, Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for Diana, Oscar Wao for Bridget. I told Tracey I’d get this one to her one of these days, The Corrections is one of my favorites.

I’ve got $11 to my name now and a headfull of memories I’m still processing. Soon I’ll be in Arizona to see my grandparents. After that, Chicago. Then there will be the new apartment with Mike, school, work, reconnecting with friends back home (has it really only been 72 days?). I am thinking about how much I’m looking forward to all of these. Getting ecstatic over the little things: I will get to sleep on a bed basically every night.

I am blessed, blessed, infinitely blessed and baffled and thankful to receive such kindness, and I think in the emergency row that yes, it was real and yes, life can be as beautiful as it has been. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.”

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