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  • It was written on my calendar, in my appointment book, and my uncle had called me the day before just to double check that I was picking up my 95 year old grandmother at the airport. I had all of her flight information: Southwest airlines, flight 2611 arriving at 6:55 pm. I made dinner and cleaned up the kitchen early so that I would have my schedule cleared to pick her up. But when I got a call about a part-time job, all of that planning dried up and dissipated with the soap bubbles in the sink.
    I knew that I had been concerned about having lost my job, I guess I just didn't realize how profound that was. The job would only pay about a thousand dollars a month, hardly enough to help us get that new house, or a new computer or TV, and not even enough to upgrade anything or even have a few bucks left over after bills. But we wouldn't starve, and we would be able to keep our little two-bedroom house and put gas in cars. For the first time in month, I could relax. And when Mari came home from work, we got to talk about how maybe two part-time jobs would get us through the next year until I could teach in public schools. We joked a little about our favorite show to watch together – Wipeout. Mari even started reading me an email about ignorant comments and questions that an airport worker in Washington D.C. had to answer from government officials. And that's when it happened, just as one of the stories was talking about flight numbers. It was 6:50 pm (fuck! Shit!) and I had just remembered that I still had to (fuck! Shit!) pick up Nan.
    I made in to the airport and parked in ten minutes. I had to admit it, but I was betting on her age to maybe slow her down a little. Sometimes she even had to get assistance to make it from the gate to the security checkpoint. That could take minutes. I tried to run, in Crocks (fuck! Shit!) as quickly as possible through the construction barriers in the SA airport and into Terminal 2. No sign of Grandmother either at the waiting area, or inside the terminal. Back to the waiting area to double check. Back into the terminal to glance around when (Fuck!! Shit!!) when I realized that I was in the wrong terminal (Fuck!! Fuck!! Fuck!!). So now it was another sprint through construction barricades in 101 degree heat back to Terminal 1.
    Nan was already outside (it was about 7:15) when I walked up. When she recognized me she immediately began asking me, in a volume loud enough for her to hear herself (which meant that people twenty feet away were looking over), if I had forgotten about her. I had to yell back that I was a little late, but I also went to the wrong terminal. She told me that she had been giving me until 7:30, and then she was going to get a cab.
    Yes, I got her stuff collected, calmed her down and started talking to her about her trip. Still, I knew that I had somehow stepped out of the way of a family crisis that was clearly headed right at me. I've made the mistake of forgetting parent's birthdays. It's horrible, I know. But they got over it. It took years, but they got over it. I don't think anyone would have forgotten about how I left Nan at the airport. Now I was just relieved that I had remembered Nan. I think I had forgotten about the job.
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