Pondering my dilemma at Gate 36 in Denver

And so, here is the first lesson.  I arrive in Denver a few minutes early and have two hours until my connecting flight to Chicago.  I walk two big circles around the concourse and then settle down with a bowl of brown rice, vegetables and tofu at a little corner café. By the time I finish my lunch and have two sips of coffee my connecting flight to Chicago is cancelled.  Wait a minute. My flight is cancelled?

I have not seen my mother in twenty-eight years.  (She will ask “And whose fault is that?”  I’ll decline to answer.) This was the weekend.  I only have this weekend.

I find United Customer Service and I say to the couple behind me, “Let’s turn this into a positive.  Who knows?”  I say, “Maybe I’ll end up in Pennsylvania earlier.”

But the line moves slowly and I begin to worry.  I tell the couple my story.  They reassure me.

I make it to the counter and try to hold it together but it’s useless.  The tears fall.  I ask the man to send me back to San Francisco.  I can’t do this.  He says, “Don’t waste your ticket.  We’ll get you there.”

I’m put on stand-by for a few flights but they’re oversold. I’m confirmed on a late afternoon flight to Washington Dulles.  They offer a hotel pass and food voucher.

Phone calls follow to Avis, to the hotel in Brienigsville and Expedia.  Avis is cooperative.  Expedia not so much.

A few hours pass.

I’m wondering.  Is it karma? Are my troubles today a debt I’m paying for being less than a stellar daughter?

It’s ironic that Hurricane Earl and I are both headed to the same destination. Earl was Mom’s third husband. A despicable man not unlike ‘Squiggy’  on Laverne and Shirley. Earl was a Mormon. Of sorts. Although I do not mean to imply that his faith made him despicable. It may have been his one saving grace). I remember Mom’s backward plunge of baptismal conversion.  I skipped the wedding to stay home baking a cake for them.  But then he said to the fifteen-year-old me – a girl unsure of herself, her body and her sexuality:  “you have lovely breasts.”

So you see, I have reasons for wanting to not go home.  But now that I am, is the journey becoming difficult for a reason?

I think about my choices:  Do I want to be angry? Frustrated? Sad?  Or do I want to drown my sorrows with drink (uh…yes).

But I choose to breathe.  I choose to stay present.  I remember something I read recently about being right here – no matter the circumstances.  Stay here. Focus. I breathe some more and the chant we sang every day at Land of Medicine Buddha rings through my head.  I thank people for working so hard.  I compliment a girl’s apple green toenails. Twelve brown sparrows fly through Gate 34.  And I feel better.  I’m going home.