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I hate it when people are late for a flight. I've always wondered what they could be doing that is so important that they have to run to the check in counter five minutes before the flight closes all puffed and red faced. Apparently shopping for a cheap pair of ballet flats to soothe your tired swollen feet is one of those really important things *ahem*.
I was shoe shopping with who else but Kelley from Magneto Bold Too and checked my watch. Just after 10:00am. Perfect, I'll grab the shoes, walk back to the hotel and then catch the SkyBus. No problemo. Then Shae comes in and asked me did I realize it was 12:10pm? And didn't my flight leave at 1:30pm? Right, so I didn't adjust my watch for the time difference. Clever. My Time Keeper Angel, your awesome ability to look at a watch correctly, an ability I obviously don't have, put all this in to motion. I would have been hours late if not for you, thank you so much.
I kept my cool and casually asked if Toushka would mind driving me to the airport. Or at least that's what I should have done... Instead I panicked and many expletives were forthcoming.
As our group (Shae, Toushka, Fi, Kelley and her daughter Moo who had joined us for breakfast) quickly made our way back from Bourke St to our hotel on Lonsdale St to grab my bags I was barely holding it together. I swung from hyperactive giggling to body numbing anxiety.
I grabbed my bags when we got there and it was time to say goodbye. I clung to Kelley, my protector over the whole weekend (over a few months now actually) and sobbed. I wanted to stay there, wrapped in her arms for hours. The woman knows me back to front, inside and out, better than I know myself, and she has a way of making everything all better... and we've only physically met twice. My Mama Angel, you have calmed my anxiety this past weekend better than any medication could with your warmth, care and understanding. I cannot articulate how much you mean to me, thank you.
But there was no time for prolonged goodbyes so I jumped in the car with rally championship driver Toushka and navigator Fi. We somehow survived Melbourne traffic. What the fuck is with all that weird lane stuff near the hospital? I suppose the roads department in all their infinite wisdom put it near the hospital so when everyone crashes they don't have far to go. We got the airport just in time. My Driver Angel, the pathetic $10 I had on me that I stuffed in your drink holder as thanks is no where near enough. You have my eternal devotion and I will sponsor your car at the next Rally Australia.
We pulled up to the terminal and Fi and I jumped out and I started to hyperventilate. My eyes wouldn't focus and I couldn't even see where I was meant to go... I couldn't even distinguish the bloody colour differences of the desks to know which was which. Fi pointed and we rushed forward. I opened my mouth and only a choking sound came out; I couldn't even form words so she spoke for me.
I ran to the gate. Even though I was checked in, I just had to get there and see for myself that the plane had not left without me. I don't run. Especially not after a night of dancing in heels and when there are no pain meds. The pain was intense and I was still hyperventilating so I sat down by the gate and tried to calm down a bit. The vending machine called to me, because when the shit hits the fan, chocolate fixes everything, right?
I put my money in, the little thing twirled around and I thought to myself if that bastard Mars Bar doesn't drop down I might as well just die on the spot because I cannot handle one more thing going wrong... and whaddya know, that fucker didn't move an inch. The tears pricked at my eyes again; I was crying over a bloody chocolate.
A young woman sitting nearby saw it happen and gave me one of those soft, sorry smiles, and I wanted to shrug, smile back and flippantly say "just one of those days" but instead my face crumpled and I pathetically lost the fight against the tears that had been welling in my eyes and they slid silently down my red cheeks.
A grown woman sitting in the airport getting upset over the loss of her last $3 and a stupid snack. I buried myself down in to my jacket and started playing with my phone, embarrassed the woman, this stranger, had seen me cry.
And then, a few minutes later she walked over to me, smiled and handed me a Mars Bar.
I completely lost it. I cried giant heaving sobs and when I tried to say thank you, no words would come out. They got stuck in my throat only emerged as a squeak.
Everyone was staring. I started hyperventilating again and the room spun.
When I had managed to calm down (from banshee like wailing to just normal tears) a little while later, I went over and thanked her and told her I would write about her.
So, Lauren, my Mars Bar Angel, if you ever read this, I cannot thank you enough. You have restored my faith in the kindness of strangers and lifted my spirits at a moment when I needed it most. You have given me so much more than an overpriced chocolate bar. You have reminded me, with your confidence to walk over in front of a room full of strangers to hand the crazy crying woman a Mars Bar, that there is good in the world. Thank you. Thank you so very, very much.