"I'll Wait For You": A Traveler's Tale

I made my way down the corridor of the terminal again, and down a series of escalators to where the tram boarded for the other terminal. I rode it out, found my gate, and looked in the adjacent area to see if the priest was there. He was not.

I walked up and down the relatively small satellite terminal building, seeing what shops were there, and finally saw the priest in line at a coffee place.

"There you are!"

"You took a REALLY LONG TIME in the bathroom." His eyes were wide, his face in a grimace, and he nodded his head in disapproval.

"Well, that happens occasionally."

"Lots of people started turning up at security, so I thought I'd better get in line without you or else I might end up stuck here."

There were more than two hours until our flight boarded at the time. I thought about lines from a certain gospel that I suspected he might have read, about the "first being last" and the "last being first" and so forth. I was tempted to quote them, but I restrained myself.

"Well, I had a nice breakfast. The food is better back in the main terminal than what you'll get here."

"Oh. Well, I'll see you by the gate, then."

I left him to order his food and consume it, and went to get a soda. I paced the halls a few more times, used the bathroom two more times, and sat for a while reading the paper I'd be giving in a few days at the conference to which I was heading. The priest never came over to the waiting area.

When the plane was boarding, it turned out that I was part of the last group to board. I searched the queues before that to see where the priest had been, but did not see him. Perhaps, when first class was boarding and I was in the bathroom for the last time, he had boarded the plane. When I finally got on board, I passed through the entirety of the coach cabin in getting to my seat, and saw him nowhere. He must have been traveling first class.

By the grace of my gods, I arrived safely and not much worse off than I had been boarding the plane after being awake for nearly a day. The flight which followed, and the buses that followed that, and the conference and return trip which followed those, all went with very little difficulty. Though he was returning home rather than attending a conference, I wished the same good outcomes to his travel experience for the priest, and hoped he got back to North Dakota safe and sound.

But, I also wished that—for the love of Lugus—his repeated phrase, "I'll wait for you," would have been honored, simply in deference to the unspoken laws of virtuous travel that convey the notion that, no matter what religion one is a practitioner of in comparison to one's fellow travelers, we are walking this part of our path together. It would behoove us to do so in a way that not only honors the path, but the gods we serve, whether we serve them openly and with recognizable uniforms from worldwide institutions, or with talismans in pockets that might be considered a threat by Homeland Security and the TSA simply because they're metal.