(Day 2 of married life)
The Denny’s Restaurant was empty, except for the two of us. We took a corner booth (intended to seat six or more) and stretched out, after giving our middle-aged waitress an abbreviated version of the evening’s events. She was sympathetic and offered free coffee.
“What time are we supposed to be at the airport?” I asked my new husband, stifling a yawn.
“5 a.m. It’s a charter flight, so we go straight to the gate, but it will take us that long to get the passengers and luggage on board to take off at 6. Or so the travel agent said.”
I nodded, confident that from here on out, our honeymoon adventure would get better. I laid my head down on the red plastic and dozed, briefly. All too soon, Chad shook my arm and we slipped from the booth and back into the car. We parked in DFW long term parking and took an automated tram to the terminal. We arrived at the designated gate early. Attendants were not yet checking passengers in.
“I’m going to find a bathroom,” I muttered. As I walked, my limp gardenia corsage drooped from my lapel. I wasn’t yet ready to unpin it. The smell was still fresh, a lot fresher than I felt.
I shoved the bathroom door open and stood, staring. I had no idea that the Dallas Airport, circa 1977, featured pay toilets. For a quarter, you could use the facilities. I had left my purse with Chad back at the airline’s gate.
“What the heck,” I growled. I had to ‘go’ and there was no time to return to the gate and then to the bathroom again. I shimmied under the stall door, sliding right in. (Polyester pantsuits create no traction on concrete floors.)
Feeling slightly better after using the facilities and splashing cold water on my face, I returned to the gate where our charter flight was to load. Several other couples were now waiting as well. A few of the women wore corsages similar to mine. We were not the only honeymooners.
“We will begin check-in and baggage acceptance for our charter flight to Acapulco in five minutes. Buenos Dias!” A perky airline representative announced over the loud speaker.
Outside the terminal windows, the sky was still dark.
As the minutes passed, a few people began to get in line. Chad and I joined them, carrying our bags with us. The line moved slowly as each couple in turn, deposited their bags on the bag rack, presented their tickets and was checked off the roster.
I tingled with excitement. Acapulco! Sunny skies, ocean breezes, days and nights of margaritas and salsa and white beaches. Images from the travel brochures flashed in my head. I would come back a little sunburned, but mostly tan. And with great stories to tell of our fun adventure.
Chad and I smiled at one another. He kissed my cheek. I blushed. Then, it was our turn to step up to the desk.
“Tickets?” The counter agent asked.
All color drained from Chad’s face. “Tickets? Um.” He patted his pockets. “I . . . didn’t . . . bring . . . the tickets.”
(Come back Friday for Part 4)