Somehow, I managed to stagger my way into the ladies washroom. I needed to freshen my face and rid myself of the dreaded tears before I found Stacie. Hopefully that part of my journey is factual and my lovely sister is awaiting my arrival on the other side of the terminal.
I bent over the sink to splash water on my face when a woman spoke. It wasn’t déjà-vu. This woman was a young, spritely thing with the biggest mop of red curls I had ever seen. Much like a grown up Shirley Temple.
“Hi there. Do you speak English?” She asked.
Her eyes glanced upward. “Thank you God.” Then she turned her gaze on me. “I was praying that someone who wasn’t French or Japanese or German or ... whatever would come into the bathroom next.”
No way Lord. I thought. I’m out of the vision casting, dream-reading business. No more crazies, please. I could not be sure God was listening to me because the young red-head had his attention as well.
As she raved her praises to God, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a tube of bright red lipstick. She began to tighten her lips and rub the vibrant colour across them. “I never travel alone.” She managed to speak despite her gaping mouth. “You?”
I shook my head.
“Wow. Two women who never travel alone standing in the same bathroom in Paris France, travelling alone.” She giggled. “What a coincidence. Only I don’t believe in coincidence, do you?”
I wanted to ponder the question only she didn’t wait for me.
“You aren’t here just by chance you know. The good Lord plans all your steps in advance. He never places you somewhere he didn’t plan or didn’t know you’d end up. He is such a good God. I think He-“
I had to interrupt. There seemed no end on the horizon. “Sorry to interrupt. What's the name of that colour lipstick? It looks great on you.”
She didn’t seem to mind my rudeness. “Oh you like it? It is my favourite colour. I have a tube in my purse, and one in my coat, and one in my suitcase.” She bobbed back and forth with enthusiasm taunting me with the tube in her hand. “And this one that I keep right here in my pocket.” She showed me the bedazzled edging marking the top of a very small pocket in her jeans.
“Do you believe in God?” She asked, giving me whiplash.
I cleared my throat. “Yes I do.”
“Then, here is the million dollar question.” She mimicked a Vanna White move. “Do you believe that He has brought you to Paris at this particular time for a particular reason?”
She could have just drawn all over me with her red lipstick and I wouldn’t have been more shocked.
In the background of my fuzzy thoughts I could hear the young woman rambling on. More importantly was her message. God wanted me to know that this is real. The bathroom, the airport, and the crazy woman – who thankfully is crazier than me – are all real. That means that the plane ride here was real too.
I interrupted her monologue about why God brought her here to this very bathroom to ask for the colour of her lipstick again.
“Oh sorry.” She giggled again. Flipping the tube upside down she read aloud “red blossom”.
“Thank you” I said and wished her the best on the next leg of her journey. She blessed me and then I left the washroom. I swung my coat over my arm with a whole new purpose. Maybe it was not a purpose I knew yet, but considering the last many hours, I knew it would be entertaining.
As soon as I came through the double frosted doors, Stacie began to bob up and down. She was using a large garbage can to raise her from her tiny stature.
“What took you so long?” She said as she shortened the distance between us. Her hug infused me with warmth and acceptance. I was glad to be there. To have taken the leap of faith and boarded a plane for another time and place. To break out of my molded existence and try on some new wings. But mostly, to be here with my best friend.
“You should wear your hair down more. You might attract a hot, French man then.” She said as she released me from her grasp.
“It is so good to see you too, Stac.”
“I’m just saying.”
Stacie offered me the brown tattered suitcase resting by her feet. “It wasn't labelled but I knew as soon as I saw it that it belonged to you.”
I stiffled a giggle. “That’s not mine.”
I pointed to the carousel moving on its squeaky tracks. One lone red suitcase travelled, looking much like the gal in the bathroom – alone but vibrantly content.
Stacie’s head turned to follow my finger but whipped back at me in half the time. “That is not.”
I nodded. “It is so.”
She looked down at the travel bag in her hand and sheepishly shrugged. “Well, what happened to my boring, stuck in a rut sister that I love so much?”
“She has a new plan.” I smiled.
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