Surprise! Part Two

So, we get on a plane and settle into our first class seats. Did I mention how giddy Luke was about this? There wasn’t all that much special about it that I could see, apart from a real glass for orange juice and a real mug for coffee. But our flight wasn’t long enough to enjoy all the benefits, I suppose.
I had packed my carry on bag with the expectation that my other suitcase would be lost in transit. As long as I had Luke and my carry on, no matter where we went we would have a good time. This trip was a second honeymoon for us, and I am embarrassed to admit that when preparing for the first time, I might not have realized the simplicity of our needs as much as I do now. Of course, I was excited to travel with my brand new husband, but the destination was such a big part of it then, too.
We changed planes in Atlanta, and after boarding we heard behind us a lady talking to her seatmate. “My husband has Alzheimer’s,” she said, “and he sat up there in the wrong seat. I have to go get him, and then I’ll be back.” As we (me tearfully) watched her gently leading her beloved back to his assigned seat, Luke leaned over and whispered, “I hope that is the way I can love you someday.” I suppose that particular illness runs in my family, but when I imagine what life is like for us two when we are older, I don’t usually think of either of us as needing the other to take care of them. But if that is what God has for us, it will be beautiful.
Once in Richmond, I camped out at baggage claim while Luke went to pick up the rental car. I’m not sure when this trip started to feel like The Amazing Race, maybe now- I kept watching the overhead digital clock tick the minutes away toward five o’clock, and it seemed like the luggage took forever to arrive. It finally did, both checked pieces (yay!), and we were off. I was told that the boat was leaving at 7:00, and it would take about an hour and a half to get to Norfolk. The drive would be straightforward, taking 64 East pretty much the whole way, so we put on a Cheri Keaggy cd that had one of the songs on it from our wedding ceremony, and sat back (Luke) and tried to relax (me). I noted the Virginia countryside, the lush greenery, and the relative speed we were knocking out the miles to Norfolk. That is, until all traffic stopped about forty-five miles into our drive. I appreciate how there would be digital signs every so often to warn us of slow traffic ahead, but it was almost torture in this case, knowing at which mile the accident was, and knowing how many miles away from the scene we were. Aargh! 40 minutes and seven miles later, after not seeing any trace of an accident, we got moving again. I was really hyperventilating at this point, and Luke was visibly uncomfortable with this turn of events, but still much calmer than I would expect from him. He told me about how he had called the boat, and they knew we were coming, and something about how the 7:00 departure time had a little flex in it. I was still completely nervous about this, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew to trust Luke more than any other feeling I had at the moment. Visions of a couple nights spent in a Norfolk motel danced in my head. Hey, it would work out okay.
Finally, we enter the Norfolk area, and I see signs mentioning Virginia Beach. I had been here before, visiting my friend Angela, and one exit in particular up ahead sounded familiar. I told Luke about this, and a few minutes later he says, “Okay. I have something arranged at the dock that I don’t want you to see until we’re there. So, I need you to close your eyes from here.” I oblige him, thinking that maybe he has told Angela about our trip and they are going to be there to see us off. Then I think, how cruel is that, call your friends to come to the dock- “Hey, we’re going on a cruise; do you want to watch our boat leave?” As much as I would have loved to see Angela, I hoped Luke didn’t do that. Maybe it was balloons, or a plane flying over with the message WILL YOU MARRY ME AGAIN? streaming behind it. He had been planning this trip for months, preparing this for me, and I couldn’t assume any extravagance had missed his consideration.
to be continued

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