Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: OVERSEAS VACATION (08/13/15)
TITLE: A Heart in Transit
By Rachel Rudd
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Mary checked her seatbelt and kept her eyes focused on the flight attendant's gestures until the safety demonstration was over.
A few minutes later she leaned over to check that her two children were situated correctly as the plane begin to back away from the gate. Her mind began to wonder in the noise of the airplane take off. Her mother had always said that sometimes a vacation is a lot like coming home, like seeing the places your mind had dreamed of recognizing. Sometimes, she thought, a vacation is coming home and your mind recognizes the places your heart had dreamed of seeing.
Her heart thought of each face she would soon see. Each new wrinkle added around caring eyes. Each white hair added on top of a beloved head. She did dread seeing her father's slow steps and her mother's aching hands, though.
Questions flowed from her daughters' 7-year-old mind from the seat beside her. "Mommy, will Granddaddy be at the airport when we stop flying? How long do we have to fly? Can I watch a movie? Will Grandmomma buy me the cheese sticks she always buys?"
Mary patiently answered each question and then turned to her son. He had engrossed himself in the most recent edition of National Geographic. Somehow he had picked up his father's love of cultures and countries. Maybe it was the hour-long sessions they spent poring over that old Atlas. Her heart skipped a beat at the thought of her husband leading their little family through forests and over fields to find the next Bronze Age burial mound. She sighed at the thought of him. She so wished he had been able to get off of work to come with them this time. Being separated from someone your are one with, by 4,000 miles, is not easy. But when she had the ability to go see her family she took it and he always understood and supported her.
She settled back in her seat as her daughter started the first movie, "Journey to another world." Mary bent over and whispered, "What's this movie about, honey?"
"Oh, Mommy don't you remember? We watched it last year. There is a little girl just like me who gets to travel in the first space rocket to Mars. She uses a plastic boat to travel over the Red Sea."
"You mean the red planet, right?
"No, Mommy. It's called the Red Sea on Mars and she is the first person to see it."
Mary began to chuckle at her daughter's play on words, but realized that her daughter was oblivious to the joke. She pushed her feet out as far as she could stretch. Considering it was monkey class, her stretching didn't go very far.
Another one of her mother's sayings came back to her as she tried to fall asleep. Anticipation is half of the excitement. Her mind had been excited even before she bought their tickets. She planned on visiting so many different places with her friends and family—the beach where she played as a child, the church she grew closer to the Lord in as a teenager, and the college where she spent hours swinging under the oak trees. Her children had caught her excitement and looked forward to even the simplest of pleasures. She chuckled to herself as she thought about her daughter's question about visiting Wal-Mart. She said she wanted to smell it again. Her son hoped to visit a historic battlefield or two. As her head nodded, she thought of being enveloped in her parents' arms again.
After many hours of flight, what seemed like two hundred more questions from her daughter, and even some from her son, they gathered all their belongings and exited the plane at the end of a long line. Each slow step brought her closer to the ones she loved and the places she missed. Just as they entered the airport terminal, she saw a sign, "Welcome to the U.S.A.," but her heart sang a different tune, "Welcome Home."
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