Airports are for 3 things: flying, Cinnabon’s, and people watching. I was waiting for my flight to board last week and I didn’t have sufficient time to scout out a Cinnabon. I was watching these 4 ladies across from me. I couldn’t figure out if they were leaving or just starting their vaycay but I could tell the 2 were besties, #3 was kind of friends with the besties, and #4 was only friends with #3. The besties weren’t being nice to #4. They chatted about their husbands and how often they call them while they are out with their bros. #3 had a really cute Louis Vuiton bag.
But this story isn’t about the four. It’s about a love story between neighbors.
I got caught up chatting with my Mom and totally missed my boarding time for my zone of seats. In true Katie Cannon fashion, I flashed a smile at the gate attendant and cut a huge line. When I got to my seat, I noticed I was next to one of the besties and the other bestie was across the aisle. “Do you want to take my seat? Aren’t you guys friends?” They gladly agreed! (Side note: this is after I made the biggest production of getting my over stuffed carry on in to the bin. I recruited half of the flight to help me while the besties stared on)
My new seat neighbor is who this story is really about . She was a sweet looking lady in her mid 50s. Immediately she started chatting. I’m not sure if it’s the questions I ask or the look on my face, but people LOVE to tell me weird descriptive details about their lives.
She told me about how her son met his girl friend in an online music forum. The first time they met in person was when she held his hand during his first chemo treatment. She told me about her daughter who was leading high school and college students on mission trips to a Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. She told me about her weird 3 year old grand daughter who likes to draw pictures of the digestive system.
The most interesting thing she told me was her love story. If you want to learn someone’s life story, ask them how they met their spouse. I’ve never regretted asking.
She had been married for 27 years to an abusive husband. They had four kids together, and she decided to leave him. He even came back and tried to apologize. “I prayed really hard,” she told me, “But 3 things happened to confirm I made the right decision.” She didn’t tell me what they were, but she did tell me how she started dating her neighbor. She broke up with him because he was an alcoholic. A year after being sober, he came and showed her his “1 year chip.” She said “No way!” He started coming to her church and after 2 years of sobriety, they got back together. (Keep in mind- this poor new husband of her’s is sitting right next to her!)Though they were in love, they remained in their own homes. “I told my kids they shouldn’t live together- how could I break my own rule?” They got engaged and planned on forgoing the wedding for a fabulous honeymoon. With the encouragement of their friends, they planned a back yard wedding with lantern lit trees and black tie waiters serving hors devours and 4 kinds of cake.
I asked her about her dress- this might be my favorite part of the whole story. “It sort of went around like this” motioning from her shoulder to her hip “And it had a rhinestone and sequin part. I wasn’t going to…but I wore white.” ‘
”You know…because we waited.” Cue me turning bright red- her poor neighbor-turned-husband was sitting right next to her! Hello- she was like my mom’s age! After a breath, I decided this was really sweet and really admirable. It was clear so much had been redeemed in her life. But it was still weird. Also, if I never would have asked her, she never would have told me. And I wouldn’t have something to I love- another story to tell.