I have just returned from my younger daughter's wedding in London. She looked so beautiful you could hear people gasp [myself included] when they saw her, especially when she and her husband walked out of the Chelsea Town Hall where they were married. During the ceremony her happiness was apparent. She had a smile that was enormous enough to create an entire new set of dimples in her cheeks. She and her fiance were giggling like a couple of schoolkids, they were so excited.
Because it's London, they had to survive a pre-wedding interview with
the people in charge of marrying folks, to ensure they weren't getting
married for green card reasons. "Does your fiance fold the toilet
paper into a point when he puts in a new roll?" "Does he drink
the last milk from the carton and put it back?" Important stuff
One of the witnesses, who shall remain nameless, began to sing "Here
Comes The Bride" and was very disappointed at the lack of response from
the others. No, it wasn't me.
Okay, fun's over, let's get to making me some GRANDKIDS, okay?
The cosmic moment came later. One of the guests was my daughter's
oldest friend, Dana. They've known each other since second grade. She
and I were staying at the same bed and breakfast together, so I had
several days and many parties to catch up with her life since she went away to college in the early nineties.
I was impressed. That little curly haired kid who wanted to be a dancer
is now a published poet and aspiring professor out in Seattle. Her
father still lives back in the Chicago area. In the same town I do, as a
matter if fact, but I haven't seen him or run into him in over fifteen
years. Ironically my daughter spent so much time at their house he
was like a second dad to her before she went to college.
Last night my plane from England landed at O'Hare at the international
terminal. That place is almost as ugly as it is big. Industrial
strength flooring. Hideous art. Fluorescent lighting from the fifties,
even though the place is fairly new. Terrible food, too. Not like the
United Terminal with Wolfgang Puck and other restaurants or the
American Terminal with my favorite food court. I fly for food. Or at
least the food I can get while I'm waiting to fly.
I was standing by the carousel, watching for my luggage with the dazed,
far away stare of someone who has been on a plane for eight hours and
doesn't know what time of day it is in real life, when a man walked up
and said my name. He looked vaguely familiar in that Did I Go To
High School With You way? Which is better than Are You Someone I Slept
With And I Can't Remember Your Name way. But even though he
looked familiar, I couldn't place him.
It took a moment, but I suddenly realized this was Dana's dad. The
father of the
daughter I just spent a week with. The man I hadn't seen in a decade
and a half, even though he lives less than a mile away. The man I never
expected to see for another couple of decades because our lives don't
intersect. And here he was at this particular terminal on this
particular night, at this particular carousel waiting for his luggage,