A couple weeks I sat in a coffee shop feeling particularly homesick and forlorn and in need of adventure and decided to see what it would cost to go somewhere for the weekend, anywhere cheap. So I began browsing inexpensive flights and lo and behold, there was one for that very weekend to Charlotte. On a whim I snatched it up and spent the next few days of work just barely able to contain my excitement as I waited for the weekend.
Friday night finally came, and after picking up the strongest smelling bagels you ever did see (I could smell them through four bags and my suitcase!) and taking a long nap, I made my way to the Newark airport. My flight left very early in the morning and I wasn’t familiar enough with the route to Jersey to take any chances on being late, so I thought, why not just hunker down at the airport for a few hours of sleep? Hah. Did you know that security closes for the night, and all that’s available outside of security is a few benches made of diamonds or something equally hard, and there are beggars who ask you for money as you wait, and there is literally no position on those benches that is comfortable to sleep? After a relatively miserable number of hours, security opened and I upgraded to slightly padded seats inside, and finally to the luxurious seats of the li’l aircraft I was taking. Yes, I said luxurious.
I arrived Saturday morning, rumpled, sleepy, and probably smelling faintly of bagels, and was greeted with hugs and baby smiles and coffee and an amazing breakfast spread. Merle and Briana’s sure is the house to go to when you’re crinkled around the edges and feeling as weary as can be from a night of travel.
Nourished in body and soul, from Charlotte I made my way from house to house, leaving a wake of shocked faces behind. It’s fun to surprise people, did you know? I only told a few necessary people before my arrival, so most of my family looked a bit ghosted (not in the modern meaning of the word) when my beaming face appeared.
The day passed in a flurry of swimming pools, blueberries, baby hugs, fresh garden eating, and happy conversation. I picnicked in my favorite li’l city, I aided in a game of checkers played with fingers in lieu of checker pieces (takes very stretchy hands, that), I sipped an elderflower spritzer at my favorite coffee shop, I filled my eyes with stretches of trees and grass, and did I mention I hugged the babies?
At the risk of sounding like an obsessive tia (although I think we can all agree I crossed that line ages ago), missing the babies is the worst part of it all. They grow up when you don’t want them to, they get shy of you when you’re not around, they lose their chub much too fast, and if you miss the first month of their lives you can’t ever recover it. I have this notion though that when we get to Heaven, we’ll be able to relive all the good parts of this life that we missed by our inability to be two places at once. Don’t you think that’s a good idea?
Sunday was just as lovely- getting to shock the socks off my parents since they were out gallivanting all day Saturday (parents nowadays…), church with all my people, a huge lunch spread at Daniel and Melissa’s house, cramming family and friends into Lyn’s house for horchata and conversation, you know the drill. Weekends back in North Carolina are completely exhausting as I try to see all the people I can in the few hours I have, and sleep as little as I can get away with. It’s tough to find time for quality conversation or enough hugs, but just being in the same room as people you’ve missed is the best, you know?
In two seconds the little weekend was over and it was time to fly back home. You may or may not remember my last flying experience, so how could I even be surprised when just as I arrived at the airport, I was notified that my flight was delayed a couple of hours? Of course. So I went through security and settled in for the long haul, as again the departure time kept being pushed back and back. LaGuardia Airport, what did I ever do to you, huh?! About four hours late we finally took off, and in the wee hours of the night I finally sank gratefully into my Lyft car which took me straight to my long-desired bed.
This story has no moral, except perhaps that you should always check ticket prices when you’re feeling homesick because you might get lucky, or maybe that you should always take the chance to shock your parents speechless when possible because it’s pretty fun, or perhaps just that you should avoid flying to NYC in thunderstorms.