I am not in a place, not in a country.
I am between places, lands, and borders.
Between here and there, betwixt someplace and home.
I am between time.
For now, I am sitting in Dallas, Texas heading for London, then on to Oslo. At the counter where I bought a cup of tomato soup the lady asked, “And where are you going?”
I answered that I was on my way to Oslo.
“Where’s that?” she continued asking.
I will be traveling forward in time. When we touch down in Oslo I will be seven hours ahead of where I am right now. How neat is that? Real life experience with going into the future.
I will not be as gracious as time travelers in the movies who seem dizzy for a mere second, then shake it off and move into their new sphere. I will be dizzy for days. Going into the future is always more difficult for me that going back and always harder to adjust to.
People around me are wandering, wondering.
Some have a lost puppy look on their faces, their eyes darting between information about gates, eating areas, and bathrooms. My eyes are trying to catch sight of a Starbucks so I can purchase a tall hot chocolate with whipped cream, which I am convinced will bring me a few moments of heaven.
In Wichita Falls, only a few days ago, I went on a tour of Christmas homes with my daughter-in-law. The fashionable houses where literally filled to the brim with festive holiday decorations. From my table here in the airport I look at one of the largest indoor Christmas trees I have seen so far on my trip. And it is more than a decoration. It is an adventure. The bottom of the tree has a tunnel going through, so that people can go inside all the glitter, colors, and bling and have their photos taken. A happiness builder.
I order my longed for hot cocoa.
Sometimes, I want to tell the Starbucks baristas that my name is Carmen, Guinevere, or Louisa, but usually answer my real name when they ask what to write on the cup, although it is often spelled wrong anyway. I sip it carefully. The barista put extra chocolate sauce on the top and it makes me happy.
It’s time to shuffle toward the gate. I pass a woman who sits in a bar in the company of a glass of something on an otherwise empty table. She is staring into space. At the soup and salad kitchen energetic, health concerned computer enthusiasts seem to get a little work done while eating their vegetables.
The sign at my gate says: On time.
Looks like we will fill all the seats on this Sunday evening flight to London. I see folks from all walks of life, speaking languages I cannot understand. Some are wearing beach sandals and shorts, others come prepared with winter boots and large scarves. A grandfather keeps throwing a stuffed teddy bear into the high ceiling as his little granddaughter squeals in delight.
One family of four have matching black and red checkered shirts.
I look out of the large windows where airplanes are lined up towards the typical Texas scarlet sunset over flat fields as far as the eye can see. So different from the short, dark December days I expect in the country I am returning to.
I follow the line of travelers into my airplane, find my seat, and stuff my carry-on bag and jacket in the overhead bin. My small backpack stays at my feet, and as I open the zipper I see the two large Christmas tree ornaments. I had seen them a few days earlier at Hobby Lobby, a gloriously fun store for girls like me, and they seemed to beg me to bring them home.
I lean back in my chair and get ready to watch a few movies before I fall asleep.
Merry Christmas to all travelers this season and always. May you enjoy the holidays, remember the reason we celebrate, and choose the good, small things in life.