“What do you mean you can’t find our reservation?” I asked, trying to keep the panic out of my voice which is prone to sounding like I sucked on helium with the slightest provocation. I tried deep breathing. Emma sidled up beside me, giving me the is-everything-all-right look. Her mother looked pale and decidedly distracted.
“Well, when they cancelled your flight the entire itinerary was dropped,” said the reservations clerk who miraculously still looked calm and composed while all hell and the second coming were being postponed due to bad weather.
“Oh,” I said, nonchalantly, like this was no different than receiving a cappuccino instead of a latte—oh, that’s okay, what’s a little steamed milk. “So what can we do about it?” I said. “I mean, we do still get to go, right?”
The reservations clerk didn’t look up from the screen and didn’t answer my question immediately. “I’ll see what I can do,” she finally answered, biting her lip. This did not fill me with confidence. We had a rental car reservation waiting, a cabin rental, a tornado whipping about every airport we needed to fly in or out of and Layce was not looking good.
“Well, that’d be great,” I said, trying to keep my voice three octaves lower than Alvin the Chipmunk.
Em stared at me. “Are we still going?”
“Sure,” I said, my voice laced with false bravado. “But see that line behind us?”
She nodded. The entire line was relegated to one other reservation clerk because we had completely co-opted the other. The people in line were growing restless and shot viperous glances. I felt compelled to say “I’m innocent. This muck up is not my fault. I am victim,” but I didn’t.
Instead, I turned my back on them. “This is why you always get to the airport early because if we were at the end of that line and were having the kind of issue we’re having we wouldn’t be going to Alaska.” My eyes bored deep into hers. This was a valuable travel lesson and I wanted her to know it. “Now, stay here. I need to talk to your mother.”
She nodded, seemingly understanding that our future depended on keeping our place in front of the line.
I sidled up to Layce who was standing off to one side. “What’s wrong?” I knew this was a stupid question, like what d’ya mean we don’t have a flight reservation wasn’t a problem.
“I’m wet,” she replied.
I stared up at the ceiling, no leak. I looked at the floor. I looked at the front of her shirt to see if she’d spilled something on it until I remembered the airport “No liquids” rule. “What d’ya mean you’re wet?”
“My butt is sweating.”
I didn’t know how to respond exactly so when in doubt I go for research. “Like how wet? A little lady like glow because it’s hot in here or…”
“Like a rainforest and I need to go to the bathroom and wring out my panties,” she said, wiggling slightly.
I got out my phone and googled involuntary butt sweating. “It’s a bonafide manifestation of an anxiety attack according to the website,” I told her.
“Great. What am I supposed to do about it?”
“Are you wearing cotton socks?” I asked.
“I think so,” she replied, staring at her feet.
“You should be okay then.”
“They’ll absorb the excess water that will soon be running down your legs. You won’t leak out onto the floor which could definitely prove a safety hazard. I’ve never understood the flooring philosophy of airports.”
“I found you a flight,” the reservation clerk called out.
I leapt for the counter. “Really?”
“It leaves in five hours and will put you in Anchorage at 1:30,” she said, smiling brightly.
“One-thirty in the morning?” I asked. We were going to arrive at 8:37 P.M. and I thought we’d grab some dinner and go to bed at a reasonable hour.
“Yes, and you can all sit together,” she said, printing out boarding passes.
I did the math. We left Tahlequah at 9:30 in the morning and we’d arrive at our destination at 1:30 in the morning which meant we’d be travelling for 16 hours. We could have flown across the Atlantic twice.
“Well, that’s grand, thank you so much for your help,” I said, gathering up the passes. Em helped me get the luggage as Layce wheeled hers to the nearest seat, leaving a trickle of water behind her.
“I thought you told me travelling was fun,” Em said, as we passed by the line of irate passengers.
“It is, can’t you see all these smiling faces?”
She looked at me dubiously. “Is mom leaking?”
“Why is she leaking?”
“She isn’t wearing cotton socks. Remember, you should always wear cotton socks when travelling.”
I sat next to Layce who said, “I think the socks were a poly blend.”
“Look on the bright side, the airline seats can be used as a flotation device.”