CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA – January 1, 1999 – Caught in a snowstorm that’s all but shutting down O’Hare – sitting in a United heavy at the gate – I think back to my ancestors who boarded frigates from England, or braved Conestoga wagon trains through Montana, wondering what their lives would be like upon arrival in the strange new land… or if they’d even arrive at all.

My journey is much less dangerous, but still frought with concerns: what does this new life, this very non-Eastern, non-Midwestern life entail? I know nothing of such things as Santa Ana winds or Crips or yucca flats. I think back to episodes of Dragnet, Emergency! and the Brady Bunch. Is this where I’m headed?

I can still smell her perfume – remember the feel of her embrace – feel her tears wet against my cheek. I’m leaving her behind and it’s driving me crazy. Yet the course of my life has veered off in a different direction. Was it the best decision? I wish I knew.

Damnit. Deice the wings and let’s get on with it.

***

We’re over the desert… successfully got out of the “Blizzard of ’99”. I was on the very last plane allowed out of O’Hare.

I want to call her, to hear her voice.

I feel a tumult, an anxiety, an excitement. A strange mix of feelings. Is this what my ancestors felt?

I want to feel her in my arms, comfortably trapped, her lying across my chest and legs.

What will this distance do to us? I just don’t want to think about it.

We begin our descent into the smog and the ride becomes turbulent…

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