The pink sky drapes itself upon the construction site. Babies cry out in desperation. Young couples walk hand-in-hand while the rest of us practice a look of noncompliance to any who dare approach us in seeking a conversation. As I walk down the corridor stuffed with aromas from the golden arches, I hear what I have not heard in a very very long time: The Texan Accent.
Many say that Texans have a different way of live, a larger-than-life approach if you will. Being that I “grew up” in Texas from eleven to 23, I thought this to be a normal thing that all individuals partake in: Whataburger runs, giant trucks, Friday night football games and a certain cockiness that can only arise from truly being comfortable.
I find myself sitting the Dallas airport, just leaving my home of New Mexico and onwards to the fourth largest city in America, first city in my heart: Houston. I spent the better half on the sojourn completely passed out on the plane. Jet planes are the adult rocking chair for me; I can never remain consciousness no matter my desperate efforts. I’ve put this to the test with drinking plural cups of coffee prior to a flight, shots of espresso, cocktails, food, uncomfortable clothes, shoes, etc. They all lead me down the yellow brick road to dream of Oz. After my eventual sabbatical to meet the Wizard, I did finally regain consciousness. Hm. About thirty minutes—too little time to finish anything but too little time to start anything. The Southwest Airlines’ magazine caught my eye with a colorful cover so my wandering hands naturally reached out and as my eyes widened with delight, I literally could not help the gasp that involuntarily left my lips: another color run article! My favorite 5k is taking the nation by technicolor storm!
As a literal literary-phile, I had to read the article. Your typical story of how a man turned his life around, one step at a time. It began 75lbs overweight, cigarettes, booze, and a lifestyle headed nowhere until he laced up his life with running. We have all read these stories—and I found myself crying in joy for this stranger whom I have never met. The next article was of a Ukrainian girl, abandoned in an orphanage, and her struggle to become an athlete despite her physical challenges of having her legs amputated.. I wept. Stealth, by default, is not my specialty. The tears were more than evident.
I’m sure the charming lesbian couple sitting next to me thought I to be wholly mad, but I could not suppress the emotion one feels with athleticism and connecting with others.
Traveling always makes me feel so small. Every person I pass has a story, a place or more they call home, a family, a story, a love-lost, and pain they are desperately trying to forget. Humanity has a way of being so similar despite our differences. Allusions of their homes, their lives I try to picture but it is all in vain; I am a stranger to them and they to me. Houston will welcome me back tonight and like being transported, I’ll be back in my past. I’ll stay in the bed that embraced me for over a decade, the house that creaks and sighs with the morning sun, and the area that watched me become the woman that I am today. Somehow visiting home magically turns me to being fifteen again, terrified of learning how to drive, needing nothing more than a hug from my parents to make everything okay, and big dreams to conquer the giant world out there with my plans.
The dichotomy betwixt this memory and the current state of my life will provide interesting reflection. Stay tuned.