Sleepless in South Florida/South America 

Because I’m back, I can begin the telling…

I’m restless the night before my flight. Logistics, what I’ve forgotten, what I might need. I remind myself that I’m in the care of a good God who knows my needs, and anyway I have a full day in Miami to acquire anything I forgot, sleep fitfully for a few hours, and wake early to prepare to depart. 

I have my bags ready, have just finished my exchange with the boy, and have the house clean (the better to come home to a clean house) when Sis arrives to drive me to the airport.  

It’s nice to have this time together, even though I know and feel bad that she’s making this drive amidst the morning rush. I leave my personal cell with her; my network won’t work internationally but that’s the phone my bank or cc will try to reach if they need me or If I need to verify my identity to them. Meanwhile I’ll have the work mobile. 

It is smooth sailing to Miami, even if there is so little legroom that it’s literally impossible to cross my legs 

Beautiful morning to fly

But I don’t sleep well the night in Miami either, passingly emotional, and tossing and turning worried, among other things, about finding a power converter for my mobile, and the schedule for the day to come. 

In the morning I get up early (easily done, as I am still on my work schedule and barely slept anyway). Overnight I’ve learned that Google says the local Home Depot is 15 minutes’ walk from the hotel, and that the local Home Depot says they have travel converters in stock.  

I get about a half block into the mission, however, when I realize Google’s route means walking in a freeway (with no sidewalks, of course). I return to the hotel, to inquire about a taxi; the shuttle driver offers to take me there and back for a few dollars while he’s between routes. I get the last one in the store. 

I get back to the hotel with plenty of time to enjoy the morning; to have coffee and yogurt, to pace each floor in search of my step goal, to pack up, check out, stow my bags with the bell captain, and – for want of ways to pass the hours before my flight more than actual interest- to take the bus service to Dolphin Mall. 

I have a delicious palomilla with rice and plantains (one of my favorite Cuban dishes) at the food court, walk the circular route of this massive shopping center, browse lightly, get my steps for the day and basically bore myself to tears at the mall. 

When I can stand it no longer, I catch the return bus back to the hotel, have dinner, and get my bags to head to the airport. 

Basically I am just filling time as best I can, because my flight departs Miami shortly after 3am, for the first leg of the trip, to Colombia. Of course there is no sleeping at the airport, and I regret to report that there isn’t any en route, either. 

But…. I’m on my way. 

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Whatever happened to The Boy?

The day before I am scheduled to fly down, I reach out to the boy. Not a lot of advance warning, no pressure to fit me in. I know you might be busy or out of town, I just thought I’d see if you were around if you want to grab coffee or something. 

We aren’t in touch; texts at Christmas and his birthday. I think of him from time to time, but with simple warmth, good memories, prayers for good things. When someone (very occasionally) asks, I tell the whole truth. I don’t know, but last I’d heard he was living full time in Miami; I don’t know but I assume he’s met someone, maybe gotten married, maybe even has kids. But these are only guesses, we aren’t in touch for me to know. 

The morning I’m to leave, he responds. He can’t see me in Miami, because he lives, just newly, in Chicago. And more news, he’ll be a father in about a month. 

His happiness travels from his fingertips to my screen to me. My face hurts from the smile on it… he’s well, he’s happy, a wife, a baby… I think he’ll make a good dad. 

I am happy for him, and also selfishly happy for myself… I’ve thought I’d be happy for him, and I’m glad to find that I really am, and that the place in my heart where he still lives feels a warm and peaceful sense that all is exactly as it should be

And that is what became of the boy