Two Thursday mornings ago I woke with a start–a three-year-old’s puffy nighttime pull-up snuggled against my knees, a pink sippy cup denting my cheek and the toenail of a tousled 7-year-old wedged in my shin.
Granted I’d stayed up until 1 am the night before cramming fashion news in an attempt to blend with New York. I cast aside all my light blue jeans and only packed the dark. Do people still wear heels with jeans? Is there any possibility I might pull off a black empire waist dress with tights and boots? I know scarves are in, but what the heck is a Spring scarf and how would one tie such a thing?
Hours later, I found myself settled in a crowded Atlanta airport, novel in hand, surrounded by hordes of people sucking down lattes and clacking away on laptops. Everyone appeared busily important. They all hurried and rushed. Some dragged carry-on luggage while others text-walked, amazingly negotiating the miasma of carts and swirling suitcases with little effort.
“I used to be one of you,” I thought.
I used to be a “director” of something with stacks of business cards, power point presentations and contracts. I criss-crossed the US from meeting to presentation to consultation, clad in perfectly pressed Anne Taylor suits and important pumps.
Yet now I lounge on this vinyl seat sipping bottled water and reading a mindless novel, not actually caring when my flight becomes delayed two hours. For the first time in so many years, I do not actually have to be on time. I text my friends in New York who are easily able to change our dinner reservations to a later time.
When the plane touches down at La Guardia, I smile a prayer-thanks and breathe deeply. I am so, so far away from South Georgia. Nobody knows that I homeschool, struggle with feelings of inadequacy, and have a child on the autism spectrum.
I leisurely stroll toward baggage claim, noting the footless tights and loosely-gathered buns that apparently denote the current “New York” look. As I look toward the baggage carousel my eye catches a name written on a largish scrap of poster board: “Elizabeth Channel.”
My sweet friends have called a car service.
Tears spring in my eyes.
I feel like a star.
Dmitri, my driver, assists graciously with my luggage, hefting the 49.5-lb suitcase into the trunk of the Lincoln Town Car with apparent finesse. I sink down into the leather while the streets and lights of New York whoosh by…
Surely this is someone else’s life.