I was running along the road leading to the airport’s parking structure, and the cold air was making my lungs ache. Snow was steadily falling, and I didn’t want to think what my hair looked like. Earlier, when I arrived at my gate, I realized my purse was in my parked car in the airport’s massive parking structure. The airline clerk told me I had only ten minutes before boarding.
I had brashly decided I could make the quick dash in time. So here I was pushing my middle-aged, out of shape body along a slippery roadway, my keys in my hand, ready to unlock my car, grab my purse and make one more dash back to my departure gate. A friend was waiting there where we had a flight to Chicago.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the white van coming from behind. Too late, ice cold slush and mud slapped one side of me as the driver carelessly drove too close to the curb. I cursed insanely but kept running. A pain in my right knee was quickly starting to creep up my left buttock. I was almost there, but to my horror, when I looked down at my keys, I realized they had slipped off the holder. I thought about crying but opted to retrace my steps. Half way back I found the keys where they had silently fallen in the snow. No time to spare now. The pain in my buttock was becoming debilitating. Some of the sludge had crept down my sweater and was melting into my bra. The snow in my hair had long ago melted. Lovely.
I was in the structure now and in sight of my car. Despite frozen fingers, I unlocked my car, reached in and grabbed my purse from behind the driver’s seat. I was literally screaming in my head the sole word, RUN, but my feet might as well have been bricks, and the pain in my buttock had become unbearable. Then, I realized I was shamelessly massaging my buttock like a baker kneads his dough. I thought to myself, the IT band screwed up again. Argh. Running had now become out of the question, but if I didn’t I was never going to make it back in time. Then I discovered if I ran pigeon-toed, it didn’t hurt quite as much. I should emphasize, this was an exaggerated pigeon-toed run. (On a scale of one to ten when it comes to walking pigeon-toed, I would say I was a #9) which also meant that my arms tended to fly around like, well, like a deranged person. I was now scaring people as I approached them. Some even gathered their children closer to them, their expressions revealing both fear and revulsion. Others just stopped and stared. Perhaps, somewhere on YouTube, is a video of a horribly pigeon-toed, crazed and mud-drenched woman with wet hair running through an airport with arms swinging in every direction. In it you can hear a steady stream of profanity.
The sign read Gate 35. “Finally”, I breathed under my breath. My friend was pacing in front of the gate. The look on her face when she first saw me could have said it all, but she felt compelled to say, “You’ve aged ten years.” But, I didn’t care about that. I was looking at the message board above me which read, “Flight delayed.”