Preparing for Takeoff

Dearest Rachel –

Were this any other morning, I would probably be making a big deal out of the fact that this is the four hundredth day in a row that I’ve written to you. That’s right; I’ve been letting you know what’s been going on with me, and what’s been happening on the planet you’ve left behind for the last four hundred days straight. Amazing, huh? Over that time, I’ve sent you over seven hundred letters, comprising just short of three-quarters of a million words…

…and it’s not the biggest thing going on today.

Nope. For as much as I’ve tried to convince myself to downplay it all this time, the first day of travel always takes on a certain special significance. The thing about cruising is that you’re basically traveling the whole time, so eventually the process diminishes in importance. But that first step towards travel, the whole aspect of leaving home and heading for the airport, the changing of gears from the mundane into what to me still seems extraordinary (I realize that there are those who practically live out of suitcases, and to them, the whole process is their ‘mundane,’ but I don’t see myself ever getting to that point), that is the moment of truth, and it is never not something worthy of elaborating on.

Of course, no travel story is without its hiccups; indeed, it is the misadventures that make the story even remotely interesting. And so, in the interests of acknowledging that fact, here are some of mine (yes, I have a few already):

My original intent, when Daniel and I returned from our usual Thursday night repast with the folks, was to watch a few videos with him, and call it a night around 10:30. I’d already picked out an outfit to wear to the airport, so that when I woke up at 6:30, I could just dry myself off and pour myself into it. So this way, I’d get my prescribed eight hours, despite (or maybe in light of) the fact the today promised to be an eventful day. I’d even taken the trouble of turning off all of the computers in the bedroom – ostensibly in order to disconnect the hard drives from them, with all the media I might want to go through during the slower periods along the trip, but also to better facilitate last night’s sleep.

But, of course, sleep comes when it will.

You can probably guess what happened next; barely a couple of videos in, and I’m out like a light. Next thing I know, I’m looking at the clock behind Daniel, and seeing what I think is one o’clock, I bounce up, wait for him to stand so that I can give him a good-night hug, scurry off to my nighttime ablutions, and head to bed. Only then, as I’m looking at my alarm clock, do I realize it’s barely after eleven; it would seem that I’d gotten the hour and minute hands confused. Well, it was still later than I’d planned to be in bed by, so no harm done, right? Besides, it’s quieter in here than its been in ages, what with all three computers being silenced, so all’s well as far as sticking to the plan, right?

Yeah… about that. Uncommon silence can be just as loud in its own way as the constant hum of electronica that I’d grown accustomed to. The bedroom sounds so much different when there is no sound, such that it wasn’t any easier to fall asleep. I think I finally was able to let go when the space heater kicked in and started its own white noise; it made the room sound so much more like it was supposed to.

But it didn’t really last. At some point while it was still dark, I could hear what sounded like a distant buzzing, as if the neighbors’ burglar alarm was going off. Which seems weird, considering that they’re no longer there; I expect their daughter might be making plans to sell it (or maybe do something to it so that her son – Daniel’s old playmate Alex – might move into it, I don’t know), but I don’t think it’s being lived in at the moment.

It turns out that the buzzing was coming from your alarm clock. Evidently, it had been set to go off, and go off it did, at 3:30 in the morning. The one saving grace was that the buzzing was so faint, that I wouldn’t have heard it had it not been for the fact that everything else in the room had been shut down and was no longer able to drown it out. Naturally, i turned it off as soon as I realized this, but I’d had to get up to discover this, and now I was needing to fall asleep yet again.

I will say this: lying in bed in a semi-conscious state, you reckon the time you’ve been resting to be considerably longer than if your head simply hits the pillow and the next thing you know, it’s morning. It isn’t, of course, but it does sort of feel that way, and it makes you think that at least, your body is getting some rest, even if your mind isn’t necessarily.

I finally did fall asleep, only to wake up a half-hour before my alarm was set to go off. Okay, I guess that’s cool. So I do everything I planned on, including tossing my toiletries into the suitcase, and I’m ready to go. I even have time to write you before Dad comes to pick me up for the airport, although I’m a little distracted by the fact that Daniel is awake (wonder how much sleep he got last night).

Anyway, I should probably get some breakfast together before then, so I will have to sign off and talk to you later; there’ll be time at the airport, I’m sure.

Until then, wish us both luck, honey – we’ll both need it in our own ways.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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