"Hey... where's your other shoe?"
"Hey... where's your other shoe," I asked.
"It fell off somewhere along the way. I guess I can just throw this one out."
15 minutes earlier
We shouldered our packs, tightening the waist and chest straps snuggly against us. The doors slid open at what seemed to be a snails pace.
"Mind the gap."
The intercom cautioned us once again but we were already running up the stairs of the subway station toward the coach ticket office. Our bus was scheduled to leave for Paris at 9:30am; our subway arrived three blocks away at 9:21am. We juked and twisted our way through the lines of people who had, evidently, read the portion of the confirmation email that told everyone to check in at least 60 minutes before our departure.
"Crap. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap."
I use a very specific vocabulary when I'm stressed.
We slowed up behind the last person in line; it must have been a good 15 or 20 minute wait. Whatever the case, we definitely didn't have that kind of time. Dropping his bags at my feet, Micah turned and ran off to find someone - a driver, a manager... anyone! - who would show us some grace. Thirty seconds after he left, I saw our bus pulling out of the station... "Crap."
Micah came running back within minutes.
"Let's hurry. I think this guy might be able to print our tickets for us."
We cleared the diameter of the station in record time, the backs of our white T-shirts drenched with sweat and our breathing, heavy.
"What time does your bus leave?"
"...it's 9:30 now."
"You were supposed to be here checking in an hour ago. We shut down the software and sent the final lists to the desk 10 minutes ago."
"But I'll go ahead and print your tickets. Take them to the check-in desk behind Gate 19."
"Thank you so, so much!"
The lady at the check-in desk behind Gate 19 must have been from another country or something (duh...) because she kept thinking we were going to Amsterdam.
"Pa-ris. Can you help us?"
"Yes, you want to go to Paris! Through Amsterdam?"
"...can we speak to a manager, please?"
Finally, the guy who had helped us previously, found it in his heart to hear our pleas once more and sent Micah to the ticket counter where we could amend our tickets to the 11:00am bus instead, for only 10 pounds.
With freshly printed boarding passes in hand, we sat at Gate 13 and waited for the line of people actually going to Amsterdam to board their bus. I leaned back against the wall and slumped down to the floor, exhausted, irritated and sweaty. My fingers flicked across the lock screen of my phone and tapped an app. Psalm 119:57-59 appeared, where I had been reading earlier that morning:
"The LORD is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
I entreat your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
When I think on my ways,
I turn my feet to your testimonies;"