"Your assignment for this week's prompt is to write a piece that begins with the line, "I could never have imagined" and ends with the line, "Then the whole world shifted." We're going to stick with the 600-word limit this week."
I could never have imagined that we would do this. We'd talked about it once, maybe twice, but not in great detail. It was one of the dreams that we both held close to our hearts. It was one of those dreams that you kept to yourself and only shared with the right person.
For so long we were separated by lives, careers and families. Now we would make the journey that we so wanted. We were meeting at the airport so we could board together. I needed to catch my flight and would arrive mid-day. He was meeting me at the airport, so we could catch the dream together.
It was June and I remember it well. Although the ride to the airport seemed to take forever, it didn't. I was there in no time and before I knew it, was boarding the plane. I was excited. Within me, my endorphins seemed to be playing a game of tag. I tried to quiet them with my mind, but they didn't want to listen.
The time passed quickly on the plane as I reviewed the "Official State Vacation Guide" I'd received in the mail. While I read, I continued to listen to the tunes on my iPod. Thank goodness for music, I thought. Somehow, it even made the food served on the plane taste good. Or, was it the endorphins? Those silly endorphins!
Landing and deboarding was no different this time than any other. As always, the baggage claim area seemed a tad chaotic but then again, people always seem to be in such a hurry. Pushing through the crowd to get closer to the conveyor belt, they then waited and waited for their luggage to roll by them, becoming impatient with each passing moment. I, however, was glad that I placed that special ribbon on my suitcase making it unmistakable and easily identifiable. It was the ribbon that was on the box of chocolates I'd received in the mail from him earlier in the year.
After removing my bag from the conveyor belt, I headed up the ramp, maneuvering it through the crowd. He and I had arranged to meet at a designated location. This was something new for both of us since we'd never really been away together, although in our minds and hearts, we'd been together for quite some time. There he was, waiting...just as we discussed. A smile came across his face and I saw the twinkle in his eyes. His eyes always twinkled when he was happy. He was as glad to see me as I was to see him. We embraced and then, stepping back and looking him in the eye, I gave him a tug on his beard. It was a simple gesture, one of affection and endearment. It was something I'd always done. He liked it. It made him smile. I liked making him smile.
As we headed to the exit located on the upper level, we passed one of the many eateries. He suggested that we stop and grab a quick bite since supper was still a long way off. We both talked excitedly about our expectations of the cruise. "You know, these are not typical cruises with shuffleboard and swimming pools," he said. I could tell that he'd done his research. "From what I've read, here the focus is on coastal scenery, Native cultures, Gold Rush history, Russian legacy, bald eagles and whales," he said smiling with widened eyes. "Did you bring warmer clothes in case you get chilly?" I smiled and nodded. He always likes to take care of me, I thought.
We boarded the cruise ship and were brought to our cabin where we once again embraced. We unpacked and then, walking hand in hand, went up on deck. As we left port, we talked about discovering the wilderness, getting up close and personal with the glaciers, the wildlife and even the possibility of catching "gold fever." Then the whole world shifted into low gear as we, Vladamir and Natasha, were together again, lost in time.