End of Vacation

story, travelVirginia HartComment

Apologies for not posting for so long.

I worked twelve consecutive days to prepare to take a vacation.
And then I *finally* took the vacation.

Ten days of it. Ten incredible days of it.

The only bad part of vacation is the end of vacation.
The inevitable goodbyes to sleeping in, to spending your days outside and - most of all - to loved ones, are what make it so difficult to return to reality.

After waking up at 3:30AM this morning and boohooing my way through security once I was forced to release my death-grip-of-a-hug on my boyfriend, I boarded my first flight. I regained consciousness upon landing and hurried to the gate for my second and final flight home. I found the nearest bathroom, inhaled a cheap breakfast biscuit and boarded the plane. I pulled out a magazine and quickly re-entered the bobbing-of-the-head stage that always happens when you're not yet allowed to recline your seat from its upright position. This time I woke up to a voice on the intercom and realized we were still on the ground. The pilot, a.k.a. the mystery person you never actually see, informed us that they needed to replace part of the left engine because it was broken. Two hours and one heat stroke later, we were told that we needed to get off the plane. After a confusing exodus, the airline transferred us to another gate. At this point, I was wide awake -- and not happily so. There was one thing I wanted: sleep.

I recognized the petite Asian girl that sat next to me once we re-boarded. She was the same girl that sat next to me before, but this time I was awake enough to process the concept of others. Her overly enthusiastic approach to life, or at least flying, paired well with her hot pink glitter eyeliner that she mistakenly used all over her cheeks and forehead. I began to question her seat-partner-flight-etiquette when she asked to read my magazines and have some of my Starbursts. "Sure, why not?", I thought. I can share.

But then she did the unthinkable.

She reached over and opened the window shade.    *GASP*

There should be a rule stated in those airline tablets stuck in the back of the seats - "He or she who hath window seat hath full control of window". It was sweltering and way too bright for my lack-of-caffeine morning to handle. I smiled politely and let her glance at the incredibly fascinating view of the runway, the majority of which was obstructed by a wing, and slowly slid the shade down. Ahh, coolness and darkness. Oh, but Sparkly Lady wasn't havin' it. "Open, open!", she shouted before reaching over and sliding the shade back up. I sat there in disbelief as she pointed and giggled and smiled - and smiled more. During takeoff, I looked around for Mickey as I thought we had inadvertently boarded Splash Mountain. She cooed as she pressed her palms against her cheeks in anticipation and began to yelp when we left the ground. Someone needed to get this girl a tranquilizer. After thirty minutes of her flipping through my Us Weekly and showing me every picture and giggling (nahh, of course I wasn't planning on reading it for myself), she...finally.fell.asleep.

I reclined my seat and nestled in to MY, now shut, window and took a three hour nap.

I must admit that despite my bitter and sad mood today, there was one thing that helped. And it, oddly enough, involved the window being open. I woke up to find Miss Giddy, now awake, staring at me. She was doing the kind of staring where she was pretending not to stare.  Every time I'd glance back, she'd quickly look straight up at the buttons & non-working air blowers as if I hadn't caught her. I had conveniently blocked her reach to the window with my purse during my nap and knowing that we were nearing LaGuardia, it didn't take much for me to guess what she wanted. I reluctantly opened the window shade.

We had begun our descent as we flew up the west side of Manhattan. The sky was so clear that I could almost pick out my apartment building.

There it was. My city. My home.

After heaving my enormous suitcase up the stairs and shutting my apartment door, I took a breather at the kitchen counter. I pulled out my US Weekly and a small crinkled piece of paper fell out. On it, in scratchy writing, read:

empire state building
times square

I thought of the overjoyed girl and her NYC list. She's right; there's a reason to smile - and smile more.

until next time,