Dun, dun, dun...
3:24 pm: My wonderful, sweet, beautiful sister picked me up from work (albeit a half hour late, though not her fault) so I could spend a few minutes with her and her three childrens before leaving for home.
3:32 pm: We realize we are going the wrong direction on the interstate and begin frantically calling family members to guide us to the airport.
3:41 pm: Course of travel corrected, we are on our way to the airport. My flight begins boarding at 4:35pm.
4:05 pm: I make it through airport security.
4:07 pm: I discover my gate is B86.
4:10 pm: I discover that gate B86 is just about the farthest possible gate I could have to get to.
4:11 pm: I begin running.
4:18 pm: I arrive at B86, sweaty and out of breath, just as they begin the pre-boarding process. Whatever that means. I listen patiently for my name to be called so I can get a seat assignment.
4:58 pm: Dizziness overcomes me as I realize the door is shutting and I am not on the plane.
5:00 pm: I ask the gate attendant why no one from stand-by was called. She tells me she called my name, along with many others several times, and why didn't I say something sooner?
5:01 pm: I begin sobbing. There's a long line in the women's bathroom so I grab a handful of paper towels and search for a quiet place to be depressed.
5:03 pm: A nice lady in the airport stops and asks me if I need anything. I must have really looked pathetic. The running mascara and audible sobs gave it away much?
5:05 pm: I find myself a somewhat private corner and plop myself on the floor. I call Kyle and cry about what an idiot I am and how I could've been on a plane right now coming home but instead I'm sitting on the floor of the airport while my bag is inside the plane I should be sitting on. Whilst on the phone, a gentleman stranger brings me a bottle of water and a stack of napkins and just says "I hope it gets better." I realize that people probably think someone must've just died or something and here I am crying because I missed my flight. Perhaps a little dramatic? Not all hope is lost though, there's a flight leaving at 6:42 pm and I find myself a delicious hand-tossed pizza to drown my sorrows with.
6:42 pm: A guy two ahead of me gets the last standy-by seat. I start sobbing again.
7:00 pm: I find another quiet corner near gate B77, where the last flight to Denver will be leaving from at 9:07 pm. My cell phone battery is dying. My charger is in my bag and has already arrived in Salt Lake. Kyle keeps me laughing about how ironic it is that he is at the airport picking up my luggage, and I'm not there with it. He's my eternal optimist. I need that optimism more than ever when the gate attendant tell me the flight is full and I am number 10 on the list for stand-by. I pray. A lot.
9:07 pm: All ticketed passengers have boarded and they start calling the stand-by names. There's one ticket left. My heart is racing, palms sweaty, as I frantically pace the floor holding my three issues of Marie Claire and my gifted bottle of water. The three gate attendants look at each other and wave me over. "Is this it? Do I finally get my boarding pass?!?" I thought with cautious hope. And you know what? I got it! I was so excited I shouted "Thank you! Thank you!" And rushed through the doorway only to discover that I had another entire terminal to walk-no run-down to actually get to gate B77. What is up with the Denver Airport anyway?? Not about to lose my chance now, I sprinted past B69, B71, my knee-length pencil skirt riding up to inappropriately short lengths. I reach B77 and step outside to see six planes lined up on the tarmac. My plane is the very last one. There's still people boarding, so I keep running, hoping that it's actually the right plane. It is! I find my seat in 8D and sigh with relief, giggling with my good fortune.
10:10 pm: Our plane finally takes off, one hour late, after waiting to be de-iced. In the back of my mind I keep thinking that it is too good to be true, that we're going to have to turn around and I'll be stuck in Denver forever.
11:28 pm: I giddily greet Kyle at the passenger pick-up where he has been napping in the car for the last hour, waiting for me to land.
11:50 am: We arrive at our tiny apartment where Kyle has posted a "Welcome Home" sign with toilet-paper streamers, a bouquet of flowers, and a silly love note.
It was absolutely worth the wait.
(more bonus points if you know what song the post title came from)