Jumping Off the Deep End

Temerity is something I’ve never been accused of.  Quite the opposite, I’m far more likely to exercise an excessive amount of caution.  So it was a strange thing to find myself tossing a hastily packed suitcase in the back seat of my car and driving to the airport.

Pulling into long term parking, I fleetingly wondered when I would see my car again.  I felt the panic creeping up my neck, but I shoved it away, willing myself to jettison all negativity and self-doubt.  Deep breaths… centered… calm… cool… collected… With renewed confidence, I grabbed my suitcase, locked my car and headed toward the ticket counter.

“I need to go to Koroni, Greece, please. One way.”

“Will you be using any frequently flyer miles today?” A bright eyed brunette beamed at me from behind the counter.

“No, thank you Janice, ” I replied, glancing towards her name tag, “I really don’t fly all that frequently.”

Janice continued to chatter as she tapped away on her keyboard. “You said one way? Do you have a visa secured?”

“No, I honestly hadn’t thought about it.” The panic started welling up again. “I thought I’d go and let things take it’s course. I don’t remember my friend mentioning needing a visa for Greece.”

“It all depends on what you are doing. US citizens can stay as tourists for up to 90 days. If you want to extend your stay or work while you’re there, you will have to approach the embassy and obtain the appropriate paperwork. Just thought you should know.” She flashed a smile before returning her gaze to the computer screen.

I nodded at Janice, letting the information sink in.  I could handle that. After all, I had no idea what I was going to find once I got there. If I decided to stay, I’d work it out when the time came.

“Alright then, I have a flight available leaving in two hours. There is a three hour layover in Frankfurt, then it will take you on to Athens. Would you like business or first class?”

“Economy please.” I might be going out on a limb, but there was no reason to go crazy on unnecessary luxuries.

“Economy it is. From Athens, you will switch to Aegean Airlines to fly to the smaller airport in Kalamata. There are buses available to take you to Koroni. Would you like me to take care of the bus ticket as well?”

“Yes, please, I would be very grateful.” I took out my wallet and handed over my credit card.

Forty-five minutes later I was holding suitcase and ticket in hand, staring at the arrival and departure screen above my gate. My plane had been delayed a bit on arrival, so there was still an hour and a half to kill.  I was jumpy and anxious, every muscle in my body wanted to be going, moving, getting to my destination.

It dawned on me that I was famished.  The newsstand next to the gate had a fridge with presealed sandwiches, so I bought one and settled into a seat. Chewing the stale bread, I tried to calm down and reflect on what had brought me to this junction in my life.

 A news report had caught my eye the night before. It was a feel good story based out of Koroni about the generosity of one of its wealthy residents helping those less fortunate during the finance crisis.  Showing aerial stills of the village carved into the hill overlooking Messiniakos Bay, I felt as if I was being pulled there. Then I saw the house. I have been in that house more times than I can count.  Since I was a little girl, I have dreamt of that very house at least once a month.

A woman named Anna lives in that house, and she talks to me about my family, my hobbies, my worries and fears.  She guides me in my dreams. And she always talks about her son, who she says is on his way home. She can’t wait for me to meet her Petros.

For over twenty years Anna and Petros have existed only in my head. But now… Now I’m going to see just how big my world really is.

Source: Wordle #99 “February 29, 2016”

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