I’m usually up for any airplane conversation, but on the flight to Puerto Rico the day after Christmas I wasn’t feeling very social. I was feeling sad about the disconnected state of my marriage, tired from the holidays, and was not psyched for a trip to the sun & the fun. I’d been so ambivalent I hadn’t even decided to go until a few hours before the early morning departure, and I’d half-heartedly thrown a bathing suit and poorly thought-out clothes into my smallest suitcase. On the Miami-San Juan leg, I planned to check out and sleep, temporary suicide until I got there. As I was getting ready to hide under my long white coat, a handsome stranger bounded into the seat next to me. He was a native Puerto Rican, it turned out, going home to surprise his Mother and family for New Year’s. He too had only decided to travel the night before. But unlike me, he was excited to get there. After he told me how he’d only decided last minute to make the trip, I confessed my ambivalence, and asked, “Can you help me get psyched up?”
Anthony took over. He ordered us Champagne and we toasted. He pulled out a pen and started to draw me a map of the Territory. He told me where to go, what to see, highlights of the place he loves. He patched my fragile psyche and reminded me how important family is.
By the time we landed, I suspected Tony was my angel… and like a good angel, he hovered nearby through my trip, sending me joyous pictures of himself at the waterfalls in the rain forest, smiling at the azure sky with palm trees above, and sharing his joy.