This card game for one, which my grandmother taught me to play when I was a little girl, seemed like my only option between short dozes up on the plane that took 14 hours to fly me home from the US.

It also symbolized how I felt—alone.        

Tony, as planned, stayed behind to see more friends and places, and be with son #2’s family longer. I had to come home earlier because of duties I said “yes” to long before our trip.

I was seated with a millennial who had on her ear phone from the time she strapped herself until we were allowed to disembark. She never looked in my direction except when she went to the bathroom.

My conversations were with the steward or stewardess.

“May I have a glass of water, please?”

“I prefer the beef with noodles.”

“Can you help me with my overhead lamp?”

As an author, I am always alone, prefer to be alone with my computer. But on a plane?! For 14 hours?!

My five-week stay in the US was packed with chatty people, lively activities, and the grace of family—enough memory bytes that would last until such time that my mind will be unhinged.

I suddenly missed my traveling companion, who, although not exactly created for exhaustive tete-a-tetes, at least gave oral reactions to my endless prattles: “Uh-huh.” I guess so.” You’re right.” “Maybe.” “More or less.”

A book, a laptop, and crossword puzzles—my boredom busters—were unfortunately ensconced in my carry-all up on the overhead bin two meters away. It would have been inconsiderate to bother sleeping passengers just to bring it down and bring it up again.

So, Solitaire!

I must have played over a hundred games and won nada. I had lost my touch. 

Peter Pan’s, “Think happy thoughts and you’ll fly!” came to mind. But, I was already flying!

When finally the pilot announced, “Cabin crew, please take your seats for landing,” I knew I was a hair’s breadth away from the land of my birth.

I said good-bye to Solitaire, and looked up to thank the Lord for a safe, uneventful flight.  

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