After an hour and a half of being cheated out of victories of Crazy 8’s by an opponent who would draw instead of playing her 8s – way to go, ma – we started seeing a beautiful Mecca: a fading sun sparkling off the gulf waters. Then I saw some islands…but my guard wasn’t down.
Then we could see the texture on the palm trees n tire treads on the runway…but my guard wasn’t down.
We touched down, docked and I snuck to the front of the line in case my claustrophobia kicked in. Then up the ramp my feet quickstepped until I could feel the soothing 74-degree air and its dance partner, the balmy sea humidity, baptize my pores.
Once I could confirm the solid steel construction of the terminal underneath me I started to cheer n pump my fist. But I caught myself: we weren’t out of the woods yet. There was still an oldold man to find and luggage to pick up. And, hell, my mother was still coming up the ramp.
Stoic oldold man Finn was in his traditional spot on a bench along the far wall behind the eager crowd of homecomers greeting our flight’s passengers. Luggage came quick n easy – almost too easy. I was waiting for the bottom to fall out if this ideal travel. In the parking garage, running shoes were swapped out for Birkenstocks and the hooded sweatshirt was removed and packed out-of-sight, out-of-mind so as to forget the bitter cold -8 degree temperature that greeted us at the begnning of the day’s travels.
The ride out to I-75 was smooth as we watched sundown fall over the palm tree horizon ahead…but my guard wasn’t down.
I checked my work email during the ride which consisted of a gracious letter from a corporate higher-up and a partial approval for a project. I texted a couple co-workers about the project n fought to sit upright and conscious as I stayed in business mode and tried to contact my aunt to see if she was already at the home. The VM let me know she wasn’t getting signal which meant she was still in alligator alley n would be meeting us soon. A co-worker who’ll be finishing up the project politely said, “relax. You’re dead to us for the next two weeks.”…but my guard wasn’t down.
Too long to short, it took an after-dinner text I recieved from my Sr. Director which moreorless ordered me to stop working and relax before I could finally take a deep breath.
I opened up all the windows in oldold man Finn’s winter home, sprawled out on the couch and prepared to watch Sunday Night Football. The players started to line up for the opening kickoff when I blinked. When my eyes opened, it was the end of the fourth quarter, my other aunt and my uncle were walking through the door, and Carolina blew a game-winning field goal thereby hurting my Bears chances for postseason play.
The nap and the last couple sentences of prattling are a great sign that my guard is dropping, for now.
Tomorrow: walk, workout, eat, swim, eat, bike ride, shower and head out to the island to eat at The Mucky Duck on Capitva Island.
Thank you oldold man Finn and thank you Ft. Myers, Margaritaville, for the theraputic start to a much-needed Holiday Vacation.