It isn’t much fun anymore, she thought as she stuffed an extra pair of socks into a corner of the suitcase. The excitement has worn off and anxiety has taken its place. When did that happen? When did the glamour slip away?
September 11, 2001. That was when the fear of flying set in. That was when going to the airport laden with suitcases and totes brought not so hidden looks of suspicion from the crowds of travelers. Her scarf covered head and long sleeved dress, though expensive and tailored to perfection, once conveyed her dedication to a higher calling. Now it conveyed sinister intent.
While other people were advised to show up an hour ahead of the flight time, she learned to arrive two or even three hours early. Security slowed to a deliberate crawl. Her bags were double and triple checked. When the TSA added the full body x-ray, she considered quitting her job and maybe even abandoning the only comfort that remained: her beliefs.
No. She slammed the lid down on her suitcase, zipped it shut, and set it next to the door. If she quit, they would win. “This is who I am! Do you hear me world?” She stood up straight and looked at herself in the mirror. “I don’t care what you think. I did not hijack a plane. I did not use it as a missile. I don’t even know anyone who did.”
She felt the anger building in her chest again and shook her head. “No! No! I will not hate them for what they think of me! I cannot. If I allow even a speck of hate inside…”
The doorbell rang. Her taxi waits.