Where I write

Where I write

July 2, 2012

Time Waits for No One

Two years ago on a flight from Phoenix to Denver, I met a woman named Lara. We talked the entire flight, and never spoke again. Yet  what she shared with me about her life, and what later happened to her in those two years since we met, has stayed with me, and will stay with me, forever.  I remembered her one night recently as I tossed and turned in bed, unable to sleep, obsessing over a dumb, stressful, conflict I had with a coworker earlier that evening.  Suddenly, I mean suddenly, I remembered Lara.

It was December when we happened to meet standing in line waiting to board a Southwest Airlines flight to Denver. She made a joke, can't remember now about what, but I right away liked her sense of humor. Lara was tall, with sleek brown hair, and atheltic looking. She looked like a woman who could hold her own, a no nonsence honesty about her.

We happened to sit beside each other and she told me she wanted to write a book. What do you know, I said. I'm a writer. I get bored just hearing myself talk about me, so I asked her what she wouild like to write her book about.

Lara told me that her and her husband were about to sail around the world. She was returning to Denver to attend her daughter's wedding shower, and then she would fly to Panama to join her husband. Using the back of the airplane seat as a pretend map, she showed me the route they planned  to take, which involved Columbia, New Zeland and, even too close for comfort to me at least, sailing near Somalia. She and her husband had planned this for years. Already Lara had lived a most interesting life, one of the first women to graduate from West Point, an engineer, and she'd raised two daughters. Wow. My life sure felt as if it paled in comparssion. And yet she didn't tell me any of this to brag. She loved life. She said the only thing that worried her was she recently had been feeling anxious but she attributed it to menopause. She said if she got in the middle of the ocean,where it was only sea and sky, and felt nervous, she planned to take something to calm her nerves. I told her what would make me nervous was a year on a boat with just a husband!  Talk about togetherness. She laughed. A lot. She gave me the address to the blog she planned to write.  I told her that her story of sailing around the world would make a great, exciting memoir. We parted in Denver, and I never saw her again.

When I remembered, I checked her blog now and then and saw Lara and her husband were having plenty of adventures and fun. They wrote about challenges with the boat and even took photos of the military who boarded their ship in Columbia. They were also eating a lot of fresh fruit, and meeting quirky people and enjoying the sea. Lara looked as if she was having the time of her life.

One day I looked at her blog again. It was December, a year since we had met.  Lara and her husband were in New Zeland. She had gotten ill, dizzy, problems with her balance, and went to a hospital there.  She had a brain tumor. From there the sailing blog took a tragic turn. Lara and her husband returned  to the United States, sold the boat to a young couple, and she began treatment in Phoenix. Lara died soon thereafter. The blog was full of tributes to her accomplished life.

So late the other night, as I worried about my silly job, I remembered Lara. I remembered her plans, her hopes, her dreams. I thought of the unfinished business we all will have at our death. She never did get around the world, but she tried. I told Lara's story to someone and they said, "at least she got to do what she loved to do." And that's true. It's just that we all have a deadline.

Here's the collage I made with pictures representing events in  my novel. I've had this in my office for at least two years. No more wasting time. All those images will be transfered from my imagination to words on paper. Thanks, Lara, for reminding me that time waits for no one. Your spirit, your desire to achieve a long cherished goal, lives on.  I'll be able to complete my goal of writing a novel which often feels as daunting as sailing around the world. At least, like Lara, I'll try. That's the best any of us can do.


C.B. Wentworth said...

What a wonderful story - so inspiring! :-) Get writing and don't stop!

Stella said...

That's right (write!) You go girl. Lara would want it for you.

Karen C. said...

Wonderful story! Thanks for sharing.

Rita A. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rita A. said...

What a wonderful story and how nice that you got to follow up on somebody you happened to meet on a trip. Her story is sad but I bet she's loving how you are turning it around to be positive in your own life.

SunsetCindi said...

Fate had you meet Lara and let her be an inspiration to you to follow your dreams and do what is best for you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a cosmic meeting you ended up having with Lara.