Where I used to live, a quick visit with one my many friends scattered all over the map was a dream. Or a Facebook messenger call. snd most of those were accidental becatse my boob likes to make sure I stay connected with the outside world.
Just ask my friend, Jill.
Where I live now, a quick visit with one of my many friends scattered all over the map is a reality. I truly had no idea how starved for this kind of opportunity. Not until I found myself at the airport, just 10 minutes from my apartment, with Eliana and The Husband. My friend, Paul, had a 90 minute layover between London and his home back in Utah, and he was bringing an old iPhone he doesn't need anymore for Eliana because Paul is beyond amazing.
So, we made it to our meeting place by the designated baggage claim area, and then we sat and waited. The fact that we didn't have to drive two hours to the airport, like we did in northern Maine, was not lost on any of us.
I got a message from Paul that he was through Customs, and started scanning the crowd. Pretty soon, a man I thought might be him came into view.
"Is that him?" asked The Husband.
"I'm not sure," I said, squinting. "He's not close enough for me to see if he's Paul's Facebook avavar yet."
That's when the Man That Might Be Paul broke into a smile of recognition, because this Mexi-fro of mine doesn't know how to blend in a crowd, and I jumped up and ran into a hug.
After proper introductions had been made, Paul told us all about done of the sights he'd seen in London and then, without any fanfare, brought the iPhone out of his pocket.
"This is for you." And he handed it to Eliana.
We hadn't told her what was going to happen. Autism, even the high functioning kind, means that plans must be set in stone with zero chances for hiccups becatse hiccups mean heartbreak and heartbreak means soothing a child that can't really be soothed when her world turns upside down. When Paul handed her the phone and Eliana that it as hers now, confusion and then surprise and then happiness all flashed within moments in her eyes.
Abd then I thanked Paul for his gift.
For Eliana, an iPhone is a social ice-breaker. She plays Pokémon Go and uses that to relate to kids and people we meet when we go out to explore. For me and my husband, this gift from Paul meant we could have our own phones back to play Pokémon Go instead of giving one of them up for her. So, yaknow, this is kind of a big deal.
We got Starbucks with Paul, talked a bit, and he asked for a signed copy of Babyfat and Be Your Own Fucking Sunshine, then told us about the books he plans to write Someday.
"One will be called 'Fuck is the Third Worst Word in this Book," he said proudly.
"I'd buy that in a hot minute," I told him.
"Mom really likes that word," Eliana chimed in.
When Paul checked his wristwatch again, we wished him safe travels when it was time for him to head off to the gage for his next flight. And we went on with our day. Like it all was a normal thing to see a friend on his way home to Utah after a trip to London at the airport just ten minutes from our home.
Because now, this is our new normal.
Thank you, Paul. You're a gem.