“Bonjour, Je m’appelle Bradley.” Brad accidently arriving in Montreal in an alternate reality–
Getting Where You Arrive
After saying our good byes to our parents we entered the gates into the Gander airport’s departure area. It was that exact moment, for the first times in our lives, we were truly on our own. Wherever our lives led us now would be our choice. We were setting out for college 1500 miles from everything we had ever known. This was the beginning of the great adventure.
Larry had a brand new suitcase with wheels and he was in his glee as he bragged about how wonderful it would be to simply pull his suitcase through the airport behind him while the rest of us toiled and strained with our second-hand baggage passed down from generations before. Krista, Sherri and myself marvelled at this new innovation of suitcase technology. I know suitcases with wheels are commonplace today but remember this was 1982; telephones where still connected to cords. As we waited for our boarding call he demonstrated how his new suitcase made life so much easier. Every three feet it would tip over on the stone tiled floor and when the strap eventually snapped he ended up carrying his suitcase to the check-in counter like the rest of us.
Our flight landed in Halifax after a breakfast of dry toast and strawberry jam. There we were able to wander the airport during our stop over, airport security had not yet been invented, so there were many places we could explore that would be considered out of bounds today. Returning to our plane, I was not paying attention on the boarding ramp and almost ended up on a jet to Montreal. Luckily I had friends who cared and they pulled me in the right direction.
Fastened again into our seats the final leg of our air trip began. I didn’t realize back then but that day in Halifax, the entire world lay open before me. The choices to where I would go where now mine to make. In Halifax I could of taken the plane to Montreal, eventually learned french, help lead the fight for Quebec independence, and been been proclaimed le president for life. I could of walked out of the airport, hopped a train across Canada, be amazed at the site of the prairies, and been surrendered to the call of wheat farming. In the harbour, I could of stowed away on a ship to Spain, and after a glorious career as a bullfighter, until one wrong misstep leaves me with a limp and a cane as I write Spanish poetry mainly about the plain during rain. Or, I could of hitched a ride in a wood panelled station waggon to the America border and crossed into the states to make my fame and fortune as Goofy in Disney World before breaking into the big time Hollywood as an extra in the movie Forest Gump.
There were so many choices open to me that day.
I chose to continue my journey with my three friends to our final destination. No, that is wrong. It was not our final destination. It was our next destination. The next step on the journey of our lives.
From that flight the four of us set out on our own journeys to which our lives have led. Since landing in Toronto thirty years ago, Krista has headed out west to the madness of Alberta. Sherri crossed that southern boarder into the land of the American Dream. I ended up, after a round about route, back in my hometown where I started. As for Larry, ten years later, he moved on to a higher place after a tragic snowstorm accident, ushered into a land where suitcases, with or without wheels, are no longer needed.
Sometimes life is like this blog, as you finish reading these words, you are faced with a page full of links you can click on. Where will it all lead? Where will you find yourself, a minute, an hour, a week, a month, a year, a decade, a century from now? Where ever it is, it’s yours to decide.