Shifty-eyed and teary must not be on the TSA watchlist for suspicious behavior, because I sailed through security at Atlanta on my last leg to Belize last week. There is only one Delta flight from Atlanta to Belize City each day, so after arriving in Purgatory from London I was forced to spend the night, then re-check in for my 10 am flight the next day. Simon’s flight back to PC was due to leave the same evening we landed, but after a five second conversation (“I booked a room with a king bed”), he decided to ditch his last leg and rent a car the next morning. We’d had a wonderful time in England, but one hectic week together after a month apart, with a 2-3 month stretch in front of us made that extra 12 hours alone together seem precious. If only we’d not been utterly and completely exhausted.
There are a few personal items that I am missing here that are difficult, if not impossible to acquire. Mom and Simon supplied me with lots of goodies to bring back, and Simon very sweetly brought my pillow from Florida to England. I blissfully slept on it while we were there, dreaming of the horrible foam thing I had bought here in San Pedro. I then dutifully carried my pillow with me back across the Atlantic, and then carefully planted it on top of my purse in the hotel in Atlanta so I couldn’t miss it in the morning. I can’t tell you how excited I was to have it back: it’s a bit of a Linus’s blanket for me as it turns out.
I’m sure you see where this is headed.
At around 8:10 am the next morning while waiting to be checked in at the International Terminal (40 minutes and 2 shuttles from the hotel), I suddenly realized I had, of course, left it in our room among the dozens of fluffy white hotel pillows. Fortunately, Simon was able to retrieve it later (Hotel Indigo in College Park, the hotel is really nice and the staff are great), but I was forced to travel back to Belize sans pillow. It is now back where it started, in our bedroom in Florida, after a long Transatlantic adventure.
Our third goodbye in as many months proved to be more difficult than the previous two for me, but I was holding it together fairly well until we did our final hug and Simon whispered, “I’m really sorry about your pillow.” At which point I sort of lost it. I’m still not entirely sure why it upset me so much, but apparently I’d been clinging to that goddamned pillow as a lifeline. I mean, obviously I’d much rather have my husband than the pillow, but the combination of leaving Simon, losing the security pillow, and jet lag was obviously too much for me before coffee. I am not a public crier, so I embarrassedly shuffled through security trying not to make eye contact with anyone. Again, not sure why TSA didn’t pick me out for a private screening.
I’m back in my routine now and have ceviche’d myself back into good mental health. But I’d just like to give a small nod of the head to my family and friends who go through these things year after year, in much more difficult situations, and with kids. This is a choice for us, neither of us are going into combat, and 3 months apart is nothing compared to a deployment. It is perhaps more difficult than we thought it would be when we made our plans initially, but we have Skype and will get through it. Absence and the heart and all that, etc.
My neck is really sore, though.