I am waiting for my husband’s very delayed flight to arrive. The baggage carousels stopped revolving over 20 minutes ago, and the only other people in the area are slumped in their plastic chairs without apparent anticipation.
The chairs across from me are backed-up to a stainless steel wall, so I shift over there. Now I have a place to lean my head. Reaching in my pocket, I draw out a ruby-red string of rosary beads and cradle them between my fingers. I have heard it said that, “As long as one person in a family prays, that will be enough.” I’m not sure exactly what this means, but it seems like a good general philosophy of life that isn’t a whole lot of trouble, so why not?
Especially why not if one is waiting three hours in an airport.
I lean my head back against the wall, close my eyes, find my place on the beads and begin murmuring the Apostles’ Creed. From there I move on to the Our Father, the Glory Be, Oh, My Jesus, and eventually to the serenity of ten Hail Marys. At each decade the sequence repeats, and soon I have lost track of time, place, and modern travel inconveniences.
A man’s voice begins humming on the periphery of my awareness. I open my eyes to see a slightly-built janitor poking his broom under the chairs next to mine. I lift my feet for him and ask, “Would you like me to move?”
“No, Ma’am, not necessary.”
After he sweeps around me, he glances at the glittery string in my hands and says helpfully, “There’s an outlet ’round the end of that post if you need to recharge that thing.”