A feeling of sadness and uncertainly washed over me as I saw the twinkling lights of Seattle start to fall below me. The force of the plane pushed me back against the seat as we took flight into the air, bound for Dallas. I was sitting on the outside seat and looked over at the man sitting next to me.
"I'm feeling a little nostalgic leaving. Its been something like ten years since I left home".
A bit of a home-body, I suddenly wasnt sure whether or not I could do this. My throat tightened as I thought about the unknown lying ahead of me, and the long flights it would take to get there. This flight was ultimately heading to Dallas, but taking a stop in not only Denver, but Kansas City as well, two cities (two states) I had never been to before. I hoped they would let me know what to do when we would land. Sit tight? Change planes?
My uncertainty was still present, but my eyes were becoming heavy from the early 2:30 wake up Wes and I had made to get to the airport on time. Four hours later now and still dark outside, I was feeling it. I let myself nod off, dreaming of a mixture between my horse, Milo, my Dad, and my Boyfriend, Wes.
I jolted back awake and saw daylight out the small window. My seat neighbor was still sleeping, but the flight attendants were now serving drinks and peanuts. I pulled out my book and read for a while.
We landed in the cold city of Denver, and I leaned forward in my seat to try and catch some glimpses of it outside the airplane window. A city I had never seen before, but Denver looked rather flat and boring. My seat neighbor and others left the plane and only myself and a small group of people stayed aboard. We were allowed to disembark the plane, but were recommended to take our photo I.D.'s for re-entry back onto the plane. I feared somehow getting abandoned in Denver so decided to sit tight on the plane. I scooted into the inside window seat, snagging it before the plane re-loaded, heading to Kansas City.
The wheels came off the ground again and once more we were sky-bound. This flight was completely full and a kind older lady took seat next to me. A talkative woman, but somehow I managed to close my eyes and doze off once again. Attendants came through again serving the same snacks. Not one to ignore free hand outs, I took peanuts and a drink again. The sun shone through the window next to me, and the talking woman next to me disallowed sleep to continue. This time I retrieved my crochet from my purse and set to work. This sparked more conversation from the sweet old lady, and we chatted of crafting, housework, and her grandchildren for the duration of the flight.
Our descent into Kansas City was uneventful, thank goodness, and I gazed out the window on a foreign landscape once again. It boggled my mind how in just under four hours time I was now farther away from home then I had ever been. Again I feared leaving the plane, and took advantage of the empty seats and snatched the emergency exit seat. If I was going to have to ride this plane for another hour and a half, I was going to enjoy some leg room.
Waiting for the next passengers to board, I chatted with another traveler staying aboard, who too had gotten on in Seattle. Another older lady, but this time our conversation was on horses. She too was going to Dallas, but heading down to Fort Worth for the Stock Shows held at the Stockyards. I told her I was not only heading down to visit my Dad whom I had not seen in nearly two years, but also to attend the National Reined Cow Horse Association's World Show in San Angelo. I further said that an acquaintance I knew from Washington had driven herself and a client to the very event, and I was anticipating meeting her there in person this time, not through online conversation. Turned out, the older gal knew this very trainer, and asked that I give her a hello if I found her. I mused at what a small world it is, for two strangers to know the same person, but converse over it in Kansas City, very far away from home indeed.
We climbed into the air once more, but no nostalgia was felt when watching the building and landscape of Kansas City disappear into the clouds. This time I felt excitement, as our destination was finally Dallas. I was so close to seeing my Dad again. But I rested my head against the wall and slept for a few moments until the new crew asked for my drink. I took the free hand outs for the third time. Peanuts and soda were fueling me through the flights, as it had now crept into the one-o'clock hour.
After finishing my snack, I managed to doze for the remainder of the flight until the captain announced the beginning of out descent into Dallas. Still a half hour away, but I peered through the window and scanned the landscapes of Texas. I felt butterflies find home in my stomach, as I continued to look out the window. Texas wasn't what I envisioned, with many houses, buildings, and trees dotting it's flat lands. It looked much drier then Washington, but not barren like I was anticipating. Where were the expanding ranches and fields?
The plane circled over downtown Dallas before starting to drop down onto the runway. Now I was downright giddy as the vantage of the building turned from rooftops to walls. We were now on the ground and I couldnt wait two minutes longer to be off of the aircraft. The seatbelt sign blinked off and everyone stood in unison. My strategic inside window emergency seat didnt provide for an incredibly fast exit, but eventually I did retrieve my carry on from the overhead stowage and I raced off of the plane as fast as the people in front of me allowed.
Carrying my bag in my arms, not holding my the handle because the zipper decided to break when leaving the house in the morning and now only two side buckles kept the baggage closed, I raced down the airport aisles, my cowboy boots pounding the ground. I called my Dad who said he would meet me at Baggage Claim. I had no bag to claim, but stood at the carousel, looking from the exit doors to outside, scanning for sight of my Dad. Minutes passed by and I started getting anxious mixed into the excitement. I hear voices chatting behind me and looked to see what balloons they were talking about.
Dad! Right behind me stood my father, his wife, and two new children, conversing lightly with someone asking about the balloon animals in their hands. I ran into his arms, hugging him like old times. He looked the same and felt the same, but attached to one of his hands was a shy little boy, trying to hide from my gaze to behind my father. My stepmother, Rena, held onto another child, a little girl I recognized from visiting me at my old job a year ago. She was shy but handed me my balloon creation, a big flower. Dad tossed a heart over my head and instructed Tony, the little boy to give me the last balloon, an attempted horse. He continued to hide from my smile, but held the horse thing out to me.
We talked lightly as I followed them to the parking garage, bags and balloons in hand. We arrived at a white Minivan.
"A Minivan?" I questioned. Not exactly the ride I always knew my Father to have. Suddenly I started to feel a little uncomfortable with the situation. The two knew adopted children, and the minivan and their father to tote them around. We made light conversation as we entered the highway. What had I gotten into? I wasnt sure I could handle these children and this new life my Dad had.