We made it to Florida without any serious damage. Shannon broke her purse and the lady that took our baggage to be checked in may have incurred a hernia, but other than that, we're all doing well.
After getting through Security, Shannon and I realized we still had nearly two hours before our flight left. What to do, what to do... well, we stopped into TGI Fridays and had ourselves a lovely little (well, not so little) drink. We also got hit on by a surly barman. Fun stuff.
Our flight was about thirty minutes late. Most people might be upset by this fact, but when the flight attendant starts her announcements with "Since the flight was delayed, your first round of any alcoholic beverages will be free," you really can't complain. So, yes, we decided to be lushes and drink up. Sadly, there wasn't time for a second round. This was the fastest plane trip ever. We hurriedly gulped down the last of our cocktails as the flight attendent made her last round for trash pick-up, and then we were on the ground again.
I've decided I never want to travel alone again. (I've also decided air marshals are darn cute.)
There's something different about being in Florida. This has always been my rejuvenation place. There has never been a time that I've been here that I haven't completely enjoyed myself. There is something about sitting out on the porch, listening to the branches creak in the wind, staring up at the starlit night, writing in my journal or reading a good book. I love the hours I spend with my dad, talking about some of the most obscure topics - things I would never really talk about with anyone else. I love the smell of the house. When I stepped out of the shower this morning and pressed my face into the fluffy pink towel I had chosen, I had a series of childhood bubble baths flash through my mind; my grandmother complaining about the waste of water, puddles of soapy water on the floor, bath toys bobbing around in the basin.
This house is full of memories. This house is a living, breathing testimony to my life, my family's life, and the many times we've shared, happy and sad.
But, it's different now.
This evening my Grandmother walked into the family room and asked me where the pots and pans went. She's lived in this house for at least 25 years. 25 years and now she doesn't know where she puts her own cookware. I never saw a day where she would need my help. I know that's silly; we all get old.
But this is worse than simple old age. This isn't like the memory loss that will creep upon each and every one of us, some day. This is a disease that is rotting away her memories, one by one. This is something that will one day steal my grandmother from me, and me from her. There will come the day when she doesn't remember me at all.
Already, she doesn't know we were here in the summer. Today, she asked if we were staying tonight.
This house will always be a place I love. There is nothing that can change that. And I suppose it was different when Papa was sick, because he was in a nursing home. I didn't attach his sickness to the home.
But I can't detach these two, and my heart aches for what I cannot change, for what I know is coming, for things beyond my control.
My gladness comes in knowing that she may not remember the times we are sharing, but I will. And I will always remember the clarity of her blue eyes, the smoothness of her porcelain-white face, the crazy style in which she wears her hair, the smile that lights up a room. I will always remember the strength I saw in her when I was growing up, and always hold her in my heart as a hero, regardless of what is to come.