D (Departure) Day had come and I was as nervous as anyone. I hated to drive anywhere near Atlanta (Roger would tell me about now not to use the word “hate” because that’s a negative emotion. You got that right!) but I had to do it. There was no other way. DIL1 had never driven my car and wouldn’t have agreed to do it if I’d asked so I didn’t ask. The car was loaded and the back end was heavy with all the stuff in the trunk. We got to DS1’s place and picked up DIL1 and my granddaughter. We were on our merry way.
DD couldn’t drive. She’d tried driving my car and had a hard time coordinating the clutch and the gearshift. The car was a stick shift and she was convinced she couldn’t drive anything but an automatic. Her driver’s ed had been in such a creature. I was stuck in the operator’s seat, DD was in the back seat with her niece (who loved her auntie dearly) and DIL1 was in the front passenger seat.
Except for my wanting to scream at the top of my lungs several times, the trip down was uneventful. We made it in plenty of time since the regulations in place now were still in the future. The airport is huge and it’s seemingly miles to get to the right gate. We had checked the big pieces of luggage (if it were now, her luggage fee would have been enormous) but she still had her carry on. We utilized the people movers whenever we could. I wasn’t really into walking long distances.
When we got to the right place, we all went through security. No having to have a ticket to go to the gate. Once through, we still had quite a bit of time to kill so we found a place to sit and waited. I took some pictures with my trusty film camera and fought back tears. I didn’t want to make a spectacle of myself.
The boarding announcement came and we headed for the gate. There were hugs all around and DD lined up with the other passengers and the rest of us took our places by the windows so we could watch the plane taxi out. My little girl was flying away to another continent and there was nothing I could do about it.
The line started moving and I watched until she was out of sight. As I’ve said before, I don’t look at all pretty when I cry. My granddaughter was intrigued by my swollen eyes and red nose. She’d never seen her Granny Sue look quite that way before.
As expected, the engines started, the plane roared to life and taxied out to the runway. At that point, there were so many planes taking off and landing that we couldn’t tell which one was hers. We gave up trying to figure it out and went back to the car for the trip home.
The trip down might have been fairly easy but we encountered rush hour traffic on the way back. I was glad I’d topped the tank off before we’d set out that morning because we got marooned in an Interstate parking lot. Nothing was moving for a long, long time. Finally, we were underway again and I headed North.
Once we got back, I don’t even remember if I stayed the night or went on back home. I do know that I was anxious to hear from DD so I probably didn’t linger after I dropped my passengers off. She’d have to call collect and I didn’t expect DS1 to pick up the charges. We’ll say I went home.
Finally the call came. DD was fine. She’d made it okay in spite of extreme nerves. She was at the college and her roommate was a national, aged 14. Neither one of them spoke the other’s language. True, DD had taken Spanish in academy and already had a year of college level Spanish under her belt but the roommate spoke in a different dialect unique to the area she came from.
The school had email but there was only one account the students could use. I could send an email to DD but I had to specify that it was to her. It would be printed off and handed over. Her reply would come whenever she could get to the computer. It would be better if I called but that was quite a process, too. I’d never placed an international call before and that was a learning experience in itself. Our conversations couldn’t be too long because it cost 25¢ a minute. That could put a hole in a budget pretty quickly. Collect was much higher.
I asked about the surroundings. DD was pretty noncommittal. It was fine. That’s her phrase. Everything is fine.
Back at work, I was a basket case again. This time, there was no Christmas break to look forward to. DD was gone for the duration of the school year and she wouldn’t be back until it was over. I wouldn’t have to drive to and from the airport to pick her up but that was a small consolation. I would have been willing to in a heartbeat.
It was nice to have my other two children, their spouses and my granddaughter not terribly far away and I would go to visit. Twinkle and I were still fast friends. At one point, it looked as though we’d lose her, though. She’d been taken to the vet as soon as she could be spayed and was declawed at the same time. DIL1 called me and said she was in critical condition—I guess it had been a shock to her system—and she was back at the vet’s and was on IV fluids. She asked for me to pray for my grandcat and I did. There was a positive answer and she pulled through.
After her surgery, she was a changed cat. No longer was she the passive animal she once was. She still had teeth and back claws and she wasn’t timid about using them. One day, I got a call from my DIL and she said, “Come get Twinkle. She has crossed the line.” DIL had been keeping her sisters children, a boy and a girl. The boy had pulled Twinkle’s tail and she wasn’t happy. She tore into him and scratched his face. Knowing she was in trouble, she ran under the dining table. DIL had gone after her and when she grabbed her and started pulling her out, Twinkle retaliated by sinking her fang in DIL’s thumb as far as it would go. That was the last straw.
The house was very quiet without DD and I welcomed the prospect of company. I went as soon as I could and got Twinkle and all of her paraphernalia. My granddaughter didn’t want her to go but there was no negotiating. She was OUT.
Once home, I unloaded all of Twinkle’s stuff—cat box, food bowl, self-waterer—before I got the carrier out of the car. DIL had given me her food and some cat litter so I got everything set up. It was time to get Twinkle and bring her in. Once out of the carrier, she inspected every nook and cranny of the house and didn’t seem to be upset at being moved. As a matter of fact, it appeared she felt right at home.