Leaving for SXSW

I arrived in Austin, TX on Thursday afternoon in a fog. A few hours prior I stood on the airport curb and curled into the chest of the man I love deeply. We said our goodbyes as if I were only leaving for a business trip but the shaking in my core still had not stopped. I almost forgot to take off my sunglasses before I looked in his eyes one last time. I’m never in daylight without sunglasses and forget that people can’t see all of me when I’m wearing them. I wanted him to see all of me. It was the last time he would. 

The people of Will Rogers World Airport didn’t get the same privilege. Once I passed through the rigors of security (guess who forgot she had a wine tool in her purse), the glasses went back on. No one else needed to see me that day. I wandered for a while and then remembered I hadn’t eaten. 

Sheri. You’re alone now. No one is here to feed you or take your hand and lead you. You’re on your own.  

I shuffled all pathetic-like over to Schlotzsky’s for a breakfast sandwich and some coffee. After I ate (raising my blood sugar is crucial to stopping tears, I’ve learned), I found a gift shop to stock up on packets of Kleenex and bottled water for what I assumed would be an embarrassing plane ride of weeping. I spent the last few minutes in OKC texting friends for support and thinking of the last things I’d left unsaid to him. Then saying them, knowing that when I got back in a week life would have moved on. 

I may have emo-Facebook posted. Maybe. Then deleted it because I am heartbroken, not 12 years old. Then I remembered that I’m allowed whatever I want and this is my life to live how I see fit. I also decided to white-knuckle it as soon as I landed in Austin. That I needed to get my Sheri in order as much as possible in the air because when I landed, a full-on sensory overload awaited me. 

In my Houston layover I remembered to call a shuttle service to get me to and from the airport in Austin. I had earmarked the week before my trip for break-neck, procrastinated preparation. One more lesson learned about waiting until the last minute, huh? The lack of shuttle was an easy fix but I also still had a week’s worth of SXSW Interactive Sessions that had been half-planned, at best. There was no embarrassing weeping on the plane. I drowned my emo thoughts moving from Patty Griffin’s Living With Ghosts to Impossible Dream to Ben Howard’s Every Kingdom. Then repeat. 

By the time I got to the hotel I was properly numbed out. My shuttle left me at the airport because I had been waiting in the wrong spot. The $20 I tried to break to tip the driver had come to me Vegas-style in a landslide of gold dollar coins. I met someone from Oklahoma City in the shuttle and we had mutual friends. And she follows me on Twitter. There was conundrum after distraction and I was glad for it.

After checking in I slung my body across the hotel bed and began reading official SXSW stuff about sessions and transportation while I snacked on the gift bag goodies and eyeballed the free vodka that looked about as good to me as a hole in my head. I broke out the iPad and checked the neighborhood for food or tea and found both, but after a short walk I discovered that two 6′ fences and a railroad track separated me from my destination. Around the same time, though, an angel from OKC tweeted that they were within an hour wrapping up their drive to Austin. 

Back in my room I stared into bathroom mirror, took a deep breath and put on makeup for the first time in a week. The white-knuckling began.

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  1. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Hey….I’m an angel. SWEET!

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