I Saw a Ghost

I saw a ghost today. I knew I would. I had a premonition of the apparition this morning on my way to the airport.

The sweet sad Dan Fogelberg song Same Old Lang Syne was playing on the radio and as always my eyes well with tears. The song beautiful and sad, always makes me introspective and usually sad…about things that might have been… and that makes me weary.  I was already tired at 6AM facing a two leg SWA trip from Sacramento to Albuquerque.

Seems my A-List airport good karma was spent and needed payment of some type…so we boarded as normal and I cracked open my new only-time-to-read-in-flight book.  After three pages, I looked up and the plane was just ¼ full and no more passengers were loading.  Before I could ask…the announcement came to de-plane. Some mechanical failure on this bus with wings and we were herded back out to the gate B18.

The ticket agent announced they would try and get us out today!  OMG!  I relaxed and reassured a couple of people we were in the good old USofA and not spending the night in Heathrow Airport.  They didn’t seem to get it or care.  All we all wanted was to be taxiing to PHX at 8AM.

Anyway –too late to make this a short story–more than an hour later, they called me up to the counter and put me on the Seattle flight at 9:30 AM with a 2:10 PM connection to ABQ.  OK.  Love SeaTac…lots of fun shopping and great food.  Perfect for a long layover.  Anthony’s for a fish lunch and a glass of wine.  I deserve it!

The Seattle bound flight had nearly already boarded, but I was able to get in the front of the line with my A-List boarding pass and found a niche for my bag over aisle 14.

Off at SeaTac and I dragged my belongings over the flat brass salmon swimming in the tile floors up to the concourse.  Found some $22. Halibut tacos and enjoyed a generous serving of Sauvignon Blanc. I started back to my gate B8 with my right Achilles tendon screaming and found a quiet seat. I propped up my sore ankle on my suitcase to rest, cracked open my $3.95 bottle of Smart Water, popped a couple of Excedrin, retrieved my novel and settled in for the hour wait for my New Mexico wings.

What made me look up from my book, I do not know. But I did.

There, about 25 feet from me stood The Ghost.  Right in the center of the thoroughfare, he stood talking to a couple of guys. I deduced they had just gotten off a flight and were waiting for a colleague.   At first, I questioned his identity…then that smile broadened across his face and I knew it was him.

My mind spun in a hundred circles along with my racing heart… I could not decide what to do…so I did nothing.  I just observed them standing there from my plastic perch.  Nearly a minute (or so it seemed) passed, I gathered my things and I started walking up to the trio.  I thought to just say hi. At that exact moment, their tardy coworker appeared and they headed off never looking back away from my bags, my bum ankle and me.

I could have called out his name…but didn’t want to appear weird.  Just like a normal apparition, when it is recognized it disappears…as The Ghost did into the crowd.

So, it was best not to interrupt or say anything. There was not much to say other than hello, suffer a few stilted words and a quick goodbye. No time to converse, no time to linger…planes to board and meetings to make. We have nothing in common really…just a few months of knowing each other a long-long time ago.  Unrequited and unreturned young love…that sort of thing.

“Everything Happens for a Reason” is on magnet on my fridge.  Have to just go with that.  Sometime you realize right away why something goes this way or that…sometimes you never are granted that  knowledge.

I rarely talk to my seatmate on a plane…but this was already an unusual trip. I sat on the aisle staring straight at the back of a balding head and must of looked a bit lost or something.  The guy filling the window seat kindly asked me how my day was going.  I told this stranger, yet fellow traveler, about my near encounter with The Ghost.  He quietly considered my story for a couple of minutes and turned to me and simply said “you lost your nerve.”

He was right.