My temple was aching from laying my head against the bunched up winter jacket packed into the porthole of the airplane. It was a poor excuse for a pillow on the flight from Philly to Charlotte, the third of a four-leg journey to Florida in preparation for my relocation in a few short weeks. I dozed intermittently while the 231 Airbus hummed along the stratus cloud road beneath. My mind drifted among the wispy white cotton, rarely alighting on anything concrete, until it came to rest on the surreal year that had passed ethereally, like the topography 30,000 feet below. It had been like a dream, or perhaps, like a movie or play. The play had been good; very good. In fact, it had been the best I had been privy to in quite some time. There was romance, action, adventure, mystery, intrigue, suspense, and a cliffhanger ending that literally left you bewildered as to whether or not it was really over. But the curtain had fallen and the patrons were slowly milling out of their seats, gathering up their belongings and tossing empty popcorn boxes into the trash receptacles. To my dismay, I realized I was standing in front of the thick, prolific, red velvet curtain, on the stage. As I became more and more cognizant of my surroundings, embarrassment crept up, staining my cheeks crimson. I glanced furtively, side to side, seeking some means of escape. I felt curious eyes on me from those remaining in the audience, wondering why I was still here. Pity crossed their features as they shook their heads sympathetically and turned their eyes away so as not to shame me further. “She must not realize the play is over,” they were likely saying, “She must not know it’s time for her to leave.” I tried to think what it was I was supposed to do, where I was supposed to go, but there was a thick bank of fog swirling around my brain, making it confused and sluggish. What had happened? Where was I? Where was Scott?
And then the fog began to lift and searing clarity clutched my heart as I realized it was not a play, but a biography…of me. It was over but I was still here, on the stage, wondering what was to come. It was as if I had finished a book and closed the cover, but kept looking for more pages to turn, my fingers skimming the air where they should’ve been. It was time to leave my beloved mountains and go where everyone told me I should go; where I belonged, but I wasn’t convinced. My heart did not yearn for Florida and yet, it was becoming detached from Maine as well. When I looked at people leaving the theater, they glanced at me, startled, and seemingly surprised to find I was still there. I was afraid to leave; afraid that the last semblance of Scott’s spirit remaining would not follow me south.