(Wilmington, DE - Phoenix/Tucson, AZ)
We woke this morning dreading the day. Today I fly home to Phoenix and leave my mom. I don’t want to.
I had some last minute things to put into the box I was shipping home so I finished packing that and got it taped up. That was an ordeal in itself. Mom had a roll of packing tape but darn if we could find the end of it to get it started. We turned that roll over and over but neither one of us could see or feel the end. I finally took a razor blade to start a new end but I didn’t realize just how far I had cut down. As you can imagine the pieces we were able to get off weren’t very long and it was a pain! We decided to find some duct tape but somehow that roll was MIA. Mom finally found a roll of blue tape so we used that. Half way through we realized it was the tape Billy used when he was painting. Yep, painters tape. Back to the packing tape we went. After much peeling, cussing and determination we finally got it going and taped that box up good!
A run to the post office and the box was on its way.
Billy was to pick me up at 11:30am so we didn’t have much time.
We agreed the night before that we wouldn’t cry. Mom assured me she wouldn’t, that she would point to the door and yell, Good Riddance!
Right on time, Billy arrived.
After some small talk it was apparent that the time had come. I had to leave. I hugged her and said I would see her soon and that I would be back as fast as I could. I turned to Billy to tell him I would carry my laptop case and when I turned back to her I found she had walked to the kitchen. I was a little taken aback that she left that quickly and went to the kitchen to find her. She stood at the sink looking out the window trying hard to hold back the tears. I walked towards her and couldn’t hold my tears back any longer. It was like a dam had broken,,,,finally. We pulled it together after a few minutes and each gathered that composure we held on to so tightly these past five weeks.
Walking out that door was truly one of the hardest things I had to do. I didn’t want to leave for it would mean she was alone. For the first time in her 78 years she was going to be alone. Alone, her new normal.
I was finally in the car and on my way home to Bob.
Of course there were more tears when I had to say goodbye to Billy. They were close to the surface so they came easily.
I got through security and headed straight to the USO lounge in the airport. This is the first one I had been in but I had plenty of time before my plane took off to check it out. I didn’t know that there was food, drinks and candy, there for the taking. I helped myself to a package of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and sat and talked to two policemen who were in there on break.
As time got close for check in I asked how far away my gate was and was told I was at the opposite end of the airport. Oh. Great. They offered me a ride on the back of their golf cart and I jumped on that. Since it had POLICE emblazoned on the front and both sides I got some looks as we rode through the terminal. We had to stop for foot traffic and I heard one little girl ask her mom, “What did she do?”
I got to my gate in record time and had time to search for a cold Pepsi and have a bagel toasted. I boarded with no problem. I found my aisle seat which I paid $40 extra for because it was a choice seat. I don’t know what so special about it, it looked just like the others. The seat in the middle was empty and Amanda sat in the window seat. Amanda is from Philly and was flying to Phoenix for work. She was a most enjoyable seat companion with a good sense of humor. She had an IPad with her and we played a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit as we flew across country.
It was a smooth flight and when we landed everyone was talking about what a smooth landing we made. It was like we were in the air and the next thing we knew we were on the runway but we never felt the touchdown. Kudos to that pilot!
Upon landing the pilot said, “The local time is 3:48pm and its one hundred and three degrees. Welcome to Phoenix!” I was the only on this 757 who was dressed for the weather in Arizona. It was chilly, rainy and overcast when we left Philadelphia. I was the only one who traveled in shorts and a top and was I ever glad I did!
Remember back in the day when flight attendants, then known as stewardesses (a word typed using only your left hand) were always female, in their twenties to early thirties, usually blond, beautiful and size 2? Well, those days are gone! Today the flight attendants were a crew of four, two male, late thirties to early forties, totally bald, and just average looking. The women, one in her forties,had salt & pepper hair color and she looked tired. The other woman was a woman of color, had a great smile and was shall we say, pleasingly plump. Oh how times have changed.
I hopped in a cab and twenty one dollars later arrived at the Enterprise Car Rental store. I had my reservation number and everything went smoothly. Until. Until the fellow was going through my bill with me and explaining the charges and telling me a deposit of $250.00 would be applied to my credit card as a deposit. I told him I wasn’t told that but that I didn’t have a problem with it. He then asked if I wanted to pay the $50 drop off charge now or did I want to wait until I actually dropped the car off. My response was, “What drop off charge? I wasn’t told about any drop off charge. What’s it for?” Well it turns out you have to pay fifty big ones if you drop off in a different place which I was, in Tucson. I simply told him I wasn’t told about this charge and I’m not paying it. For all I knew he could have been putting that fifty dollars in his pocket. He then said, “Well, since you weren’t told about it, I can help you out and knock it down to $35.00.” I told him he needs to drop it down to zero because I’m not paying it. I guess he realized by the tone of my voice that I wasn’t playing around and he quickly agreed to waive the fee.
I got a black on black Chrysler 200. The car handled nicely and has a very nice sound system in it.
I drove to Quail Run, our winter perch to pick up our mail that was being held for us. I stopped to see my good friend Sandy and spent some time with her. I spent a few minutes with another friend, Bonnie and then hit the road for Tucson.
Since I hadn’t talked with Bob since the day before yesterday I thought I had better call him and let him know I was in Arizona and on my way home. My phone battery was deader than a doornail. Oh well, I would just drive on.
He didn’t even hear me drive up and when I walked in he was surprised to see me. When he got up from his recliner and walked towards me, well, I just lost it. All those tears held in for five weeks were finally being released. I was finally getting in that good cry. He just held me and let me get it out.
Its been quite an emotional day. Certainly not one of my favorites.
I’m home again, where I belong and my mom is going to be ok. I just have to believe that.