*Part 5 in The Tour Guide series. You can read Part 4 here.
May 12th was finally here and I was so excited. I’d been getting updates about the Tour Guide’s flights from the airline’s website so I knew his arrival would be delayed. That gave me enough time to finish all my last minute cleaning and sprucing. The airport is about a three hour drive for me and when his plane took off from his layover in Newark I struck out for Atlanta. I was to keep my sister, Karen, and my friend, Tessa, informed of my whereabouts, calling them to let them know when I’d left for the airport, when I’d arrived at the airport and when we were in the car headed back home.
Tessa and I had an agreement that I’d keep my phone with me at all times. If she rang me once and I didn’t answer, she’d ring me again. If I didn’t answer the second time she was calling 911. We had set up fairly regular intervals at which we were to call each other to check in. Keeping in mind that she’d only seen one picture of The Tour Guide and spoken briefly with him on Yahoo!Messenger chat, she was tentatively excited for me.
I arrived at the airport at just about the same time as his plane was supposed to land. But he hit the tarmac a little earlier than I thought he would. He’d already made it through security and collected his luggage. Somehow we passed each other. There I stood at the baggage claim carousel in my green sundress scanning the arrivals board when I heard a voice from behind me. “Ruth, there you are!”, came the voice with a British accent. I turned around and there he was. Taller than I expected. Slender with dark hair, and big brown eyes. “Paulie!” We hugged like we’d known each other forever. And then we started to chatter nervously on the way to the car. When The Tour Guide left England it was chilly. He was wearing navy blue shirt with a sweater(also known as a jumper in England) over it. He had to shed that sweater; it was hot here. “Welcome to Georgia, Paulie.”
Safely in the car on the way home I rang Tessa. “The Eagle has landed.” “Are you okay? You call us if you need any.thing. Call me when you get home to let me know you got there alright.” We drove a good ways holding hands. There was an instant connection. We’d prepared ourselves for the awkwardness that might accompany our first meeting. But there was none.
By the time we’d gotten his luggage in the car and driven out of Atlanta it was nearly eleven o’clock. We were both hungry so we looked for a place to eat. What is open at that time of night? Waffle House. My first date with the tall, handsome British man who flew half-way across the world to see me was at a Waffle House. But you know something? It was perfect.
We arrived safe and sound at my house around 1:30 a.m. and were both exhausted.