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TITLE: U-Turn in Slingback Heels
By Kim Sandstrom

Dawn's breaking point sends her on a "runaway getaway". surprise ending.
Her dishy blonde up-do complimented a newly thinned face. She wore a black slinky jersey dress that outlined her the points of her recently discovered hipbones.
Each slim ankle was tipped up by snappy, gold, sling-back heels. Party-bright rhinestones vamped the top of each shoe. She had forsaken the understatement of her small pearl earrings for the drama of oversized gold hoops the size of bangle bracelets. She carried an extra large leather hobo bag with gold grommets and "Angel" outlined in rhinestones. It was so very "desperate housewife". She also carried a slightly bigger carry-on bag with enough clothing to last a month.
She most definitely didn’t look like a mother of two, much less four boys, one of them a very angry sixteen year old. Dawn’s makeup was immaculate; not too much, but enough to let her mature attractiveness shine through. Since she’d never go the botox/collagen route, a little dab of extra gloss would do. After all, she had not always looked liked this. Just six months earlier, when snow and ice lined the streets of Boise, Idaho, she was fat, frumpy and forty. She joked that she looked like an Amish woman, her dark blonde hair pulled back and fastened by a large clip-on bow. She knew that the dresses she thought camouflaged her “baby fat”, didn’t. The flat comfortable shoes, sometimes purchased several pairs at a time so she would never run out, could have been given the name “birth control” shoes. This was a look she had grown comfortable with, the kids felt safe with, and mother costume. A day came that would forever replace her picture of herself.
She had been the praying earth-mother in her neighborhood and church. But she also felt almost sexless. At forty, things at the Meyer's ranch were not Ladies-Home-Journal-perfect.
Dawn couldn't sleep, ate poorly, felt isolated from other women her age, most especially the "other kid's moms". Gordon, her husband, traveled more and more, and the isolation was growing worse. The kids: Joshua, Jamison, Jared and Justin were at varying points of male maturity. Josh was on a circuitous path to manhood. At sixteen, he tried to assert his independence at every opportunity. The person most likely to be asserted to, was Dawn.
After months of petitions and intercession on behalf of her son, there were no obvious results. Sleeplessness, lack of exercise and lack of relaxation led to desperation and desperation came to live in her heart. This led to the moment when her brain clicked into the survive or die mode, and the years of giving dangerously, became the months of living recklessly.
As she neared the airline ticket counter, she thought of her children. She thought of her husband. She hadn’t seen them in more than three weeks and she didn’t know if she was ready to see them yet.

The last straw had been when sixteen year Joshua stood toe to toe with her in the kitchen of their large rustic ranch home, his once angelic face a torment of acne and anger. His body language clearly showed he meant to intimidate and frighten his mother. Dawn used to stand up straight and tall and firm as an iron rod in front of him, praying to Jesus under her breath. But this time, Josh was taller, Dawn was smaller and Dawn was tired beyond crying and reasoning and she let the vectives hit her. “I hate you! I hate this house! I’m gettin' out and I ain't never comin' back”. There were more words and worse words spoken and Dawn’s blood thickened in her veins as she watched helplessly as her husband, who used to stand beside her in every event of their marriage, vanished from the kitchen wordlessly, leaving her to face this parental nightmare alone. Dawn knew where and what her husband was doing and she was afraid of why he was doing it. Gordon was finishing packing for another business trip, this one for two weeks far across the planet.
Dawn heard Gordon snap his suitcase shut. Even though Josh had not stopped the endless litany of every way he had been harmed since utero, Dawn had tuned into Gordon's departure. He hurried back into the kitchen, looking as though he was already at his destination. Handsome, focused, packed. He kissed Dawn quickly, gave his “grow up and be a man and help your mom” speech to Joshua and strode out the door in such a flash of movement, Dawn and Josh could not say goodbye. And that broke Dawn’s back.
Josh was paused in his angry, self-righteous tirade by a phone call, and the kitchen quieted while he talked to his friend. With his father gone, he knew his mother would really back down, especially with dad so far away for so long.
“Yeah, pick me up now. I gotta get outta here man. Cool…ok… peace out.” Josh had to really switch gears from maniacal son to cool dude, but he was a quick-change artist when he needed to be.
He wished peace to the friend and wished war on his mother. Dawn, still speechless with abandonment and pain, recoiled against the kitchen counter. Her tears were stanched by the concurrent anger that boiled in her; anger toward her son for his ungratefulness and cruelty and spite to her husband for leaving her alone to face this abuse. No matter how many times, her mother, her friends, the pastor and the youth counselor told her not to take Josh's words "so personal", she found it impossible to obey. He was the oldest, the first fruit, the one she invested her heart and soul into. How could his words and harsh voice not be "personal"? She understood his hormonal upheaval and the other issues of being a teenage "man", but even armed with that knowledge, the breakdown of mother/son relationship was destroying her.
She didn’t try to stop her son from leaving. There would be peace in the short term while Joshua was out of the house. Thankfully the younger kids; 9, 11, and 14, were at a parish youth campout. Josh had stopped going to church activities a year earlier. No tough love, no prayers, no counseling seemed to make a difference to Josh and so this was what they had come to as family. Gordon leaving on more and longer business trips, Joshua leaving on more and longer forays with friends and Dawn leaving her faith and her identity behind for more and longer days.

Once Josh and Gordon were gone and with the other children at church, Dawn did the thing the counselor had said to do when she thought she was “losing it”. She “centered” herself by asking herself five things: What do you feel? What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you taste? This was a simple but an effective exercise and it always helped. It was the only way to head off that “heart attack” feeling she would get in her chest. She knew in her head that she wasn’t having a heart attack, but panic attacks, for whatever reason, always felt like what she imagined a heart attack would feel like. She used to pray the attacks away, but something was in the way when she prayed. She was in the way. Dawn knew it to the point, she asked everyone else to pray for her...but could not pray for herself.
With Josh and Gordon gone, and her composure regained, Dawn made a decision. When Gordon got back from his trip to Spain, she was going on a trip too. She didn’t know where, she didn’t know when, but when she knew both those things, she would do it. She was going and she knew she was going alone: blessedly alone, peacefully alone, thank fully alone. For the first time in her life she was going alone and not to a funeral or a sports tournament with one of the boys or with a gaggle of friends: all by herself.
Because she had decided to do something entirely for herself, by herself habits that she had not been able to stop or good habits that she had not been able to start, both stopped and started. She now began to think in terms of "possibilities". during the two weeks that Gordon was gone, she backed off of Josh, and got a little tougher on herself. She wasn't cracking up, she was making up - for lost time.
The calendar rolled over day after day for two weeks. In the time since Dawn made her decision, her appetite, which easily encompassed super-size meals at the major fast food chains, now was bird-like. She began to walk and then to run and finally to dance alone to the fastest music she could find. Her “heart attacks” were replaced with a higher heart rate during exercise. Her car radio was programmed for only hip hop and pop stations, not easy to find in cowboy country Idaho, and every time Gordon used her car, his eardrums hurt from the initial explosion of sound when he turned the ignition. And these weren’t the only changes that her family suspiciously observed. Her frumpy, frowning face was displaced by a glowing, slightly off-center smile and eyes that winked when they didn’t.
When Gordon had gotten home from Spain, Dawn had lost fifteen of her thirty excess pounds and even Gordon, who never noticed less than a twenty pound change, could see his wife was diminished in weight and had gained in ego and personality. The day after Gordon had caught up from his jet lag they met each other to catch up on the mundane details of his absence. In the kitchen again, Gordon and Dawn faced off against each other. Dawn was at the table end of the kitchen, resting against the counter and Gordon had taken his father-chair at the end of the table. Coffee mugs in hand, both played with the fact that the last two weeks had brought changes in Dawn.
“How do I look? You haven’t said anything about the weight I’ve lost.” There was no preface of “honey” or “sweetheart”. It was as cold as any blast that had ever come from Dawn.
Gordon sugared his coffee.
“I can tell.”
“Yes, I said so didn’t I?”
“Well why did I have to ask?”
“Because I think you were fine the way you were. I never asked you to change for me.”
“Did it ever occur to you that I was not fine the way I was, and the way things are?”
“Yes, I suppose it’s crossed my mind…”

Dawn began to circle the kitchen with the bright energy that only those who have lost weight, worked out and feel newly powerful have.
“Then hear this: it’s my turn to “just take off”…to “leave town.”
“Dawn, you know I don’t go away for fun. It’s my work and you know it.”
“All I know is being left. I am not and never have been invited into your other life …there, at work. And guess what? I don’t want to know now, because I am leaving.”
Gordon’s mug dropped to the table and he also dropped his cup of coffee. The hot brew splashed over the rim.
Dawn stopped circling, grabbed a paper towel and damped up the coffee splash on the table.
“Oh, don’t panic. I’m not “leaving you”. I am just going away for two weeks.”
“Ok. Where are you going?”
“Don’t know yet.”
“Who are you going with?”
“See, listen to you. You think I have to be going with someone. Well, I’m going alone. That’s right, all by my little self. Well, littler self. I’ve never done it and I am going to do it now.”
“When is “now”?”
“Well, “now” is next week.”
“Who’s going to watch the kids?”
“Well, gee, I don’t know. Since you are a father and it’s called “parenting”, I guess you will have to figure it out.”
Gordon’s coffee was icy by now. Dawn retrieved the warm carafe of java.
“Want a warm-up?” Instinct kept her going. She warmed his cup.
“Ok…where are you going?”. He sipped, forgetting to sugar his coffee.
“Well…I’ve been thinking. I have a friend in Salt Lake City. I think I will go stay with her. I haven’t seen her since college and she’s single…”
“So you mean it’s ok with you?”
“Well you never asked me if it was ok…but now that you ask, I guess, it’s ok.”
Dawn now sat at the table with Gordon.
“Really “ok”?”
He took her hand. “Really “ok”.”
She exhaled loudly and felt the panicky feeling again. She felt Gordon’s hand, tried to smell the coffee, listen to the TV in the other room, taste the need to drink water in her mouth and looked at the striped pattern of Gordon’s shirt. Calmed, she began to plan the next two weeks and the two weeks after.

The calendar kept turning over and Dawn threw each day away. It was almost summer; Schools were getting out, the sun brighter than any other time since the year before. Dawn too, was lighter: another eight pounds, meaning for the first time since high school, she was able to wear whatever delighted her heart. Some of her ensembles drew stares from the local moms. Most notable was the bright yellow halter-top, earrings that all but slapped at her shoulders, and those new skinny jeans with the name that made no sense to anyone but to teenagers at the Mountain View Mall. Dawn felt she had earned the right to wear them, and wore them to the embarrassment of her four boys: to the store, to the doctor, and worst of all, to baseball games. But after all, she reasoned, she had worked hard to get into those jeans and wear them proudly. Gordon just kept all thoughts to himself, as he struggled to understand how she and he had gotten to this new edge in their marriage.

A week before Mother’s Day, mid May, Dawn, Joshua, Gordon were in the kitchen again. The younger boys were in the family room watching their rented movie for the forth time since Friday night. Josh wore his sullen face to the breakfast table and Dawn wore her new yellow halter with the unmotherly decollotee.
Gordon was intent upon Boise’s Sunday paper. Dawn and the younger boys had already gone to the early church service and Gordon would be going later. Everyone but Gordon had given up on Josh’s presence at church. Gordon put his paper down and directed his voice to Joshua.
“If you live in this house, you will go to church with us.”
And that’s when the bitter words were exchanged as the butter was passed.
“I don’t believe in your god, so quit asking me to go with you guys!”.
Dawn looked at the kitchen clock, the fork was on the one and the knife was on the six. She thought to herself, “I am the dish running away without my spoon!”. After this odd thought, she realized her plane was leaving in four hours. With some last minute packing and the drive, this dish had to leave now!
While Gordon and Joshua escalated, Dawn wordlessly walked away. Despite their elevated voices, Gordon heard her suitcase snap shut. She grabbed her shiny new oversized leather shoulder bag with the edgy gold grommets that spelled out “Girlie Girl”. It was so “Desperate Housewife”, that she was almost embarrassed to wear it. She slipped on some snappy gold sling back heels with a large round rhinestone on the edge of each vamp and ran, three inches taller, into the kitchen.
“I love you.” she said to Joshua. “I love you.” She said to Gordon and she meant it though it had a sisterly ring to it, Gordon thought. Josh mumbled and Gordon echoed his love back, but he kept his eyes on his wife as she busied about the kitchen one last time. This would be the first time in her life she didn’t leave pages of instructions for the boys in a notebook on the table. They had to make they own way, find their own food, clean their own clothes, get to baseball and the gym and music lessons and church all by their selves.
As she click-clacked her heels across the parquet floor, she smiled off-center at Gordon and Josh, blew them a kiss, which made Gordon’s eyebrows raise and Josh’s mouth turn from a scowl to a “O”. And with that, she was off to the bright lights of Salt Lake City! “At least it’s a Mormon town”, thought Gordon. “She can’t get into too much trouble there!” He wryly thought of all the business trips he was “forced” to take by the golden handcuffs of his company, to such desperate places as San Juan, Belfast, Paris and Madrid. Salt Lake City suited him fine just now. And Dawn’s friend had never married, had become a cat lady who took ballroom dancing and moderated a book reading circle. Half of Millie, made one of Dawn. Yes, Gordon was not going to panic. Not yet.
Of course, on the way to the airport, Dawn called three times checking on the boys, who had already trashed the kitchen and dispersed to various locations. Gordon stayed home and took a nap, one of his favorite of all possible pastimes.

She arrived at six in the evening. The plane trip from Boise was barely counted a as a plane trip. The Salt Lake City skyline was just starting to light up and was very exciting, at least from a Boise point of view. The high desert reflected the setting sun surrounded by golden hills. “Another world…” thought Dawn.
As Dawn waited by the baggage handler’s kiosk, she felt uncomfortable. She felt things she had not felt in many years. The fact that her newly painted toes peeked through the peeps in her heels, made her nervous. They made her nervous, because she could feel that a man was looking at them. When she looked at him, he looked away. And then another was looking at her back, and the lack, of material on it. She turned to look at him and caught him as he pretended to look in the other direction. With a sense of fearful vindication, she spied the effervescence of Millie catapulting past the baggage treadmills.
“There you are!! You haven’t changed a bit! My goodness, you look like the day you went off to college!”. Dawn stammered something about “how healthy” Millie looked and complimented her on her thick and shiny hair. They locked arms, each grabbed a bag and headed off into the Salt Lake City sunset.
Millie’s condo would have been lovely, except for the cat hair. Dawn liked cats…just not as much as Millie. There was Cashmere, Coco, Candy and Cupcake. Coco was sixteen years old, incontinent and was losing all her hair. Millie loved her like a baby: an old, bald, leaky baby. Dawn tried her best to be understanding and helpful. While Millie was at the office, Dawn walked and then within a few days, she was able to jog and when she would come back from her jaunt, she jotted. This became the pattern for many days: jogging and jotting. Thoughts and feelings skittered across her notebooks in a jumble of remembrances and ideas. Whatever came to her, she wrote. After two weeks, she had jogged nearly thirty five miles of Salt Lake City and covered forty years of her life in her notebooks.
Millie took her ballroom dancing. They went to dinner a few times and then on the first Friday Dawn was in Salt City, Millie and she went out for drinks in a club with a thumping, bumping, rocking DJ.
What surprised Dawn, was how she was not the oldest living mother in the club. There were others older and bigger than her. Middle aged men with bemused grins watched Dawn dance with her friend. Millie loved to dance, but wasn’t asked, so just like in high school, Dawn helped her friend by dancing with her. By the time “Dancing Queen” finished, Dawn was sweaty and plain old tired. Jogging was one thing. You could do it at your own pace and no one was watching, but in Salty City, the big, bright new club in SLC, Dawn couldn’t bear to sit down and she had danced herself into exhaustion. The years had fallen away.. She had a few drinks, if you could call them that. Not being a drinker, she ordered something she remembered she used to drink, many years ago; wine spritzers were light and less calories, she had always thought. They made a perfectly good dancing drink and it was so much more feminine to hold a wine glass in your hand. The girlie girl in Dawn had not vanished just because she was the only one in her household.
In the meantime, Millie was not having nearly the whoop-de-do Dawn was. She had been asked to dance once, and her prospect was so discourteous and…unhealthy looking, even Dancing Queen Dawn would have said no. Dawn had had multiple partners of varying sizes, degrees, colors and colognes. Dawn threw her head back giddily no matter how many times she was asked, and gave the “I’m just a housewife here for the weekend” speech. Millie didn’t drink, and had to work the next day, so curfew rang at midnight. On the way home, Millie smiled bemusedly, as Dawn fell asleep, snoring loudly, her mascara making owl eyes and her lipgloss all eaten away. Millie didn’t mind, because as Dawn had explained it when she arrived, “things were so bad, I can’t bring myself to talk about it.” So Millie didn’t talk, she just waited. Millie, as in high school, knew her role was protector, confidant and encourager to Dawn and that role had not changed despite time and distance. For three weeks, Dawn had Millie's ear. The only time she and Gordon talked was late at night and Gordon kept missing Dawn, because she out til midnight so often. Gordon still did not panic. Yet.
As in the previous two months, Dawn kept up her exercise and her abstemious eating. This was made easier for the fact that she didn’t have to cook for anyone. Near the end of her three weeks living a single woman’s life with her cat-lady friend, Dawn had lost nearly all of the thirty pounds that had plagued her since Justin, her youngest was born. She felt light and congruently, felt strong. When she went on her long, arid Utah walks, she didn’t try hard to pray as she always had back home, forcing the issue. She just “thought” about God. And in just “thinking” about God, she had this thought, “I am still here with you, now, as then, as I will be.” When this thought came, she held on to it. And with that thought and the exercise and the giddiness, the need for “centering” her five senses vanished as if by magic. On one of her last walks before boarding the plane for Boise, she also thought of Gordon and she thought, “what a good man he is” and she pined for a minute for Gordon. But for the first time in a long time, she didn’t worry about her children and that made her worry a lot.
The calendar turned, and this time she did not throw away the days. She kept them all and colored each one and decorated each day with delicious sparkles and sequins and lot of calligraphy. Each day was kept in the indelible memory book of her heart. Dawn promised herself, that she would have this wonderful memory book to open whenever she needed to: when Josh yelled at her, when she felt alone, when God and she didn't speak the same language, when she felt old and used up and far away from Gordon.
Three weeks and one day had passed and it was time to go home. Nothing earth-shattering had happened, nothing illegal had transpired, she had not lost her mind, or her morals. The only thing she had lost was a dress size and her panic attacks. Right before she packed her bag and cleaned out her new leather hobo bag, her chest began to tighten again and with that came fear; fear of going back, fear of being yelled at by her son, fear of being left alone to “handle” the boys, fear of being fat again, fear of wanting to run away again, fear not having God speak to her again. There was so much to fear in going back home so soon. It was too soon. She wasn’t ready. But the ticket said she had to go back and this was as much rebelliousness as a forty year old mother of four could stand.
Millie and she drove to the Salt Lake City Airport. They exchanged all the niceties of renewed friendship and Dawn extended an invitation to Boise with the promise of a blind date with one of Gordon’s co-workers. Millie pretended interest, but she would never leave her cats.
Dawn chose to wear her new black jersey dress, the snappy gold rhinestone sling-backs, big gold dangly hoops and her blonder hair pulled into an updo with just-so wisps feathering her face. All packed and glossed, she exited Millie’s Malibu, hugged her life-long friend and entered the terminal.
Since she had dawdled so long at Millie’s there was little time to make her plane. Passing through security quickly and keeping an eye on her new high heels less someone else take a liking to them, she slipped them on and ran to her gate. As she sprinted down the concourse, the spiky tip of her right heel caught in the airport carpet sending Dawn sprawling. Suddenly Dawn didn't feel poised and pretty, but big and ungainly. Because she hadn’t closed the large zippered hobo bag that she was so proud of after security had opened it, gloss, mascara, lipstick, change, cell phone and all the other comforts of home flew out her Pandora’s Purse. Today was a busy day at the airport and now she might not make her flight. Did this mean she wasn’t supposed to leave yet?
While Dawn retrieved her golden slipper and gathered in her belongings, she found herself on her knees, working side by side with a very tall, clean cut man. He was calm, methodical and working quickly to retrieve all the girlie geegaws that had flown out of her purse. Despite Dawn's nervousness about missing her flight, a crazy thought occured to her when she looked at the man. "He spoke not a word and went straight to his work." The thought took her by surprise, because he didn't look at all like Santa Claus. On the contrary. He didn't look like anyone she had ever seen before. He was ramrod straight when he stood up to hand her the remaining cosmetics and change that had fallen to the floor. His shoulders were broad, his legs long and straight, his hands, clean and fine, as though he had never done physical work, yet they looked very strong and clearly masculine. He had a super-hero chin with a cleft in the center. the most middle brown hair describable. Just brown, brown, brown with a natural sheen. His eyes were kind and grey and open and bright. He had straight teeth, no marks of any kind on his skin; no freckles, no wrinkles, no moles and no scars. The shirt and pants ensemble was not notable except that in Dawn's eyes his clothing had the faint indication of having come from "another country" and were expertly pressed, creased and fitted. There were many details of perfection to take in about this helpful stranger and the mystery of it was that though Dawn was running late, had fallen down and was now being helped by an unknown man, she was able in seconds to take in all these minute aspects of her rescuer. And then he spoke.
"Here you are Miss." Such melliflous tones! Then he handed her the belongings.
Dawn just stared at the man.
"Um, thank you. I really appreciate it. It was so silly of me to run. Look what happened! The faster I go the behinder I get!" Dawn laughed nervously as she repeated her grandma's favorite Pennsylvania Dutch expression.
The gentle stranger, laughed and offered to carry her luggage and walked beside her.
"Where are you off to?" he asked.
"I'm headed back home to my family." It occurred to Dawn that she didn’t want to tell anymore than that. It wasn’t because the man made her nervous or defensive, but because she felt suddenly self-conscious about her “runaway getaway”.
"Why don’t you let me make sure you get to your gate on time. It would be an honor to walk you there? You don't mind the company do you?" There was nothing spooky about his profer and Dawn, who had “good gut”, as she described it, agreed to let him carry her bag and help her find her gate.
“Don’t you have someplace you need to be?” Dawn breathlessly asked. Even though she was working out these days, the long, quick strides of the tall man had Dawn huffing and puffing.
“I do. I am usually close to where I need to be.” How is that for cryptic, thought Dawn. “Today I was just supposed to take a short trip.” What was it about the way he said it, that made Dawn think he wasn’t a US citizen? His accent was flat and middle American. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but something was so very different about him.
“Where do you hail from?” she wanted to know. She really wanted to know now.
“Well, I get around. I was just in California last week. And now I’m here.” Just like Dawn didn’t want to volunteer too much, so the stranger asked and answered in clipped quips.
“You’re probably wondering what I do.” Yes, indeed, Dawn wondered. She gave him a good look again. Handsome in a Gordon-sort of way: the Dudley Do-right look, Dawn called it. It became her husband so well. The superhero look of this man though had another quality altogether. If Dawn had to describe it, she would have said he looked “unused”, “unbroken”, as though he was just born now.
“I’m in ministry. I work for God doing what He asks in a variety of ways in a variety of places. Last week I was in California and this week I’m here.”
“Are you married?”
“Are you looking?” Dawn wished fervently that this goodhearted fellow had a predilection for lumpy ladies with lots of cats.
“Can’t say that I am. I don’t think that is what God has in mind for me.” So much for Millie.
This was the most God had come up in a conversation with Dawn in more than three weeks. It felt good, homey and a little scary too.
“We’re getting closer to my gate. You really kept me on track and at a face pace too!”
“I saw you in the security line and you looked a little nervous, so it’s a good thing I came along when you fell.”
“It sure was! What a mess!”
He laughed and said that he hoped he had gotten everything up off the carpet.
“It’d be a shame if anyone tripped on the stuff.” He said this without any guile whatsoever. And it was in that moment, when Dawn looked at him, that she thought,
Who is he? What is he?
“Well…miss…uh, I don’t know your name?”
“My name is Dawn and yours?”
“”Pete. Nice to meet you. Well, Dawn, we’re almost here.”
Sure enough, they had walked right up to her gate and with a few minutes to spare. While she waited for others to board, Dawn found herself speaking the strangest words.
“I didn’t want to go home today. I haven’t seen my family in more than three weeks and I actually took off with little notice, because I was having panic attacks and the kids were mean and I was fat and really, I did not know if I was going to go home again.” Dawn blushed magenta and held her breath so she wouldn’t say anything else.
“I had a suspicion it was something like that.” There was no judgement in his tone. The fact that this man, who was not much younger than her or not much older, (she couldn’t tell either way), and never made her feel that “male-female-vibe-thing” also made Dawn wonder. Who is he? Where is he from?
“Really? Why?” There was maybe a minute before she had to board her plane, but she wanted to know how this strange but good man knew things about her.
“Well…you look uncomfortable with life. I think you probably would agree with me on that." Then he looked at her in a very focused way. "I want to let you know, that no matter what you’ve done, or undone, or even thought, even the things that you think you shouldn’t have thought, now is the time to take a U-turn and go back. And from this trip, go back with what you’ve learned… to do what you know is right. I think that is what you are doing now. God created the U-turn that you are going to make.” This was as much as he had said to her during their whole time together. This was loving confrontation from a complete stranger! At least he didn't tell her to "get over it!". Then he smiled slowly, broadly and so kindly and that he placed his smile right into her eyes. It was so profound that Dawn put her head down in time to see two enormous tears drop to the floor. As she lifted her head to talk to him and to move forward with the line, and began talking to Pete. “You are right…”, but she couldn’t finish, because there was no Pete to talk to. Pete?What? Where did he go? Without embarrassment, Dawn blurted, “Pete!” and then tap tap tapped the lady in front of her.
”Did you see the man I was with?”
“No Senora. I no see no man.” And she looked at Dawn a little strangely and not nearly as kindly as Pete had looked at her.
“There was a man with me. Very tall…” “No, no senora, no man.” And the lady turned back to her belongings moving ahead quickly. Now the line was picking up speed and Dawn would soon be on the plane. She did a 360 degree spin, searching for Pete.
But there was no sign of him. He had vanished. The tall, kind man had for no other reason than he “had a suspicion” about Dawn, decided to help her get on her plane “alright” and make sure she took a u-turn home, was gone.
Dawn had never really paid much attention to angels up to that point, but Pete, she decided, might be an angel: a really tall, really kind angel with good taste in clothing and a permanent assignment at airports. His mission was complete as Dawn was on the curve of her u-turn. The "runaway getaway" turned out to be a u-turn. With the quiet guidance of an angel, she would make it the rest of the way home. In reality, Dawn thought, most of our life is a u-turn: turning home, turning to God, turning to basic values, turning to family. And somehow, sometime today, Dawn would be home, with her family, ready to leave behind her "runaway getaway" courtesy of an angel-directed u-turn.
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