Monday, April 20, 2009

Welcome to Atlanta

I dragged onto the American Airlines flight leaving Chicago for Atlanta Sunday afternoon. I was exhausted from the previous 24 hours of flights and layovers, dehydrated, missing Rob already, and the owner of one travel weary, swollen and bruised ankle; the result of the previous day's air travel and vast airports.

Rob walked me to my gate K11 in the Chicago airport. His flight was flashing "boarding" on the monitors and I told him to go, I was fine hobbling on my own, but he walked me to my gate and kissed me goodbye. I had spent the past hour of our flight giving him a list of things to do and not to do to take care of himself while in PA. I sat down to wait for my flight to Atlanta to board.

I was so excited to get home, but also enjoying not being there quite yet. I needed more time. I wasn't ready. I wanted the flight to last just a couple more hours than it would. I needed sleep and time to adjust. I was a more than slightly intimidated at what the next week would hold. Family, friends, the giving of souveniers, the sharing of stories. 3 days in Atlanta and then 3 days in Pensacola is not enough time to adjust to being anywhere.

I was hoping that I would be a good visitor; not sleep too much and have energy to answer questions. I was nervous about getting back home and being too emotional about it. Would it feel weird to be back in Atlanta? Did I want to go back and see our old house in East Point? Will it be too sad to leave my family and then Rob's after having just seen them for 3 days each?

Seat F11, right by the window of a row three deep. Yuck. I had had enough of airplane seats. I sat next to a really nice man. At first I thought he was going to be a little too talkative, but Gabby turned out to be okay. He let me sleep about 15 minutes and 3 mentionings of "I've been up for the past 24 hours" into the flight. I fell into a hard sleep. Oh, it was good. Too short, due to Complain-y, Sniffly, and Coughy sitting in the 3 seats behind me, but I managed to get enough in. The plane began it's final descent. 25 minutes out. Oh, I'm not ready I thought. And I'm so sleepy. It was physically painful to drag my graugy body out that sleep.

Flying to Atlanta before I always began looking for the city as soon as I felt the plane descending. Night flights were the best. I would find the pencil building, then the Georgia Dome, Centennial Park, the Equitable building. It was my game to identify as many land marks as possible before we landed. Once when a flight had to spend a couple extra minutes circling waiting for clearance to land, I was even able to find Ga Tech and trace the road to my old apartment. But this time, I hesitated almost until it was too late. My city was a beautiful sight for sore eyes.

The flight attendant came over the loud speaker beginning her deboarding informational routine. "Welcome to Atlanta" This is the part of the flight where I always immaturely complete Luda's lyrics, " where the players play...." Ahh, familiarity. I always end up missing the gate and baggage claim information. By the time I'd finished my solo, we'd returned to the welcoming part of the speech. "Enjoy your vacation", "have a nice business trip", blah, blah,
but then she said words that soothed my soul, "And if you are returning to Atlanta, welcome home." Welcome home. home. I was home.

It was then that I relaxed about being in Atlanta. I was home after all.

1 comment:

  1. We miss you guys, welcome back. I hope you had a good trip.