Lilly sat on the swing on her front porch. She lived in the upstairs floor of a building on Lime Street right next to Lancaster General Hospital. She looked down at her feet, taking them out of the sandals. She stuck her legs straight out and flexed her toes, admiring the red nail polish she had just put on them. She envisioned digging her toes into white sand. Trying to be patient, she checked the time on her cell phone. It was only 1:45 p.m. Zeke wasn’t due to pick her up for another fifteen minutes.
It had been a day where having patience led to good things. She left Zeke’s apartment this morning, heading to work. He gave her an envelope that she wasn’t allowed to open until she was sitting in her cubicle at work. When she read the letter inside, she learned that he had set up a two week vacation for the two of them to the Caribbean. He had even cleared it with her boss. She was to leave work at noon, and be packed and ready to go by 2 p.m.
Now she sat on her porch, awaiting Zeke’s arrival, and it was driving her crazy. Even though she had a million thoughts racing through her mind, the seconds still ticked very slowly and 2 p.m. seemed like it would never arrive.
“What will this trip include? Will I be big or little? How did he get my boss to agree to this? I work at Lancaster Newspapers. There are no such things as days off. Is he going to show up? Maybe he changed his mind. Maybe I was supposed to call him to confirm. Maybe he didn’t receive my email from work. Maybe I should stop worrying so much, but if I stop worrying, what happens if I was right to worry, and could’ve done something to prevent whatever problem is keeping him from being here with me now!” she thought all at once.
She curled up into a ball on the swing, putting her knees to her chest. At the very moment when she couldn’t stand it anymore, her cell phone rang.
“Hello? Zeke?” she said as she opened her phone and walked back in off the porch.
“You ready?” he answered through the phone.
“Yes, where are you?” she asked while travelling down the hallway stairs to the first floor.
“I’m at the front door. Can I come in for a moment?” he asked.
She arrived at the front door a split second later, unlocking it and letting him in. She leapt up into his arms and gave him the biggest hug she could.
He returned the sentiment as he carried her up the hallway stairs.
“Is this outfit okay,” she asked while hopping down out of his arms and showing off his button down shirt and the summer skirt she was wearing.
“It looks beautiful on you,” he responded with a warm smile. “Where are your bags?”
“You’ll be so happy with me. I got everything I needed into one suitcase,” she explained while grabbing his hand and leading him into the bedroom. “It’s kind of heavy, though. Here it is on the bed.”
“It shouldn’t be a problem,” he replied. “Let me use the bathroom and then we can go.”
“Okay!” she said as she sat on the bed and waited.
Zeke used the bathroom and while washing his hands noticed the rolled up diaper he put on her earlier that morning. He exited the bathroom.
“Can we go now?” she asked while standing up, running over to him and embracing him again.
He lifted her skirt and patted her bottom, which was covered with a pair of panties.
“Almost ready,” he said with a grin as he lifted her up and eased her down onto her back on the bed.
She smiled up at him.
“I don’t have any diapers here,” she said.
Zeke stretched his arms straight out to his side in a magician’s fashion. He reached his left hand underneath the back of his shirt at the waist. Quickly, he stretched his left arm back out, producing a diaper in a very Ta-Da! manner.
He lifted her legs and bottom into the air, removing her panties and easing her back down onto the diaper he had positioned underneath her. She instantly began to feel little. Zeke could read it in her eyes. He drew the diaper up at the front and fastened the tapes into place. Leaning in towards her, he put a pacifier between her lips. She smiled behind it.
“Sweetheart, your memories of this trip will make you smile just as brightly,” he said. “Those memories are waiting to be made. Shall we?”
She nodded. He helped her to her feet. He took her in one hand and the suitcase in the other, and they left. When they got outside, she lowered her chin a little and clung to his side. It was moment of insecurity for her and having the pacifier in her mouth soothed her shy nature.
They got into the car and left, headed north to the Harrisburg Airport. She took the pacifier out of her mouth almost immediately to speak.
“How did you get my boss to agree to this trip?” she asked.
“It wasn’t hard. I thought it might be, but I explained all the planning I had put into it and how I wanted it to be a surprise for you. He said it would be fine if you went along,” Zeke explained. “Your boss seems like a great guy.”
“I wouldn’t go so far as to say that,” Lilly said honestly. “What if I had said I didn’t want to go?”
“Well…I would have been sad. I guess it would’ve been just me……and that little guy,” he said while pointing to the back seat.
Lilly looked in the back seat, and there in the center, buckled in, was her teddy bear. He eyes grew big with excitement and she lost her breath for a moment. She was so excited that she reached back to pick him up before she unbuckled her seatbelt. Realizing this, she unfastened her seatbelt, and then reached back and picked him up.
She sat in her seat, crossed her legs Indian-style, and bounced up and down while hugging the bear. She was having a “Yay!” moment. He had surprised her for a second time today. She placed the teddy bear on her lap. Zeke having remembered the teddy bear wasn’t the only thing about it that made her happy. Around the bear’s neck was the grapevine bracelet that Mr. Woody had made for her. She remembered Mr. Woody’s instructions to wear that bracelet when she went to sleep and he would see her in her dreams.
They zipped down route 283 to the airport. In short order, they arrived. Zeke parked in the long term lot, and they took the shuttle to the terminals. On the way there, Lilly looked out the window and saw an airplane taking off. Her eyes grew big again, and she pondered if she should tell Zeke that she had never flown in an airplane before.
“Harrisburg International Airport, also known as mdt on Travelocity,” he said as they exited the shuttle and walked into the check-in area. “This airport is too small to be called international.”
“But it’s close to Lancaster,” Lilly said as they walked up to the counter and checked in their luggage.
Zeke held onto the “travel bag”, not wanting the contents of it to be too far away, and of course, Lilly held on to the teddy bear. Now they approached the x-ray machines. Lilly became a little panicked and her mind started racing uncontrollably with worry once more.
“What if they ask what all the baby stuff was for in that bag? What if they hand-search it? Were they going to dump it out on a table for the entire airport to see?” she worried all at once as she watched Zeke take off his shoes and empty his pockets, putting everything in a plastic tub and placing it on the x-ray belt.
Her eyes followed the bag as it rolled into the machine. The security guard stopped the belt as the bag went through. Lilly’s face went white.
“Keep moving!” said a voice, sharply from behind her.
She shuffled over into line behind Zeke, awaiting her turn to walk through the metal detector. With every movement she made, her diaper seemed to crinkle more loudly than ever. Zeke stepped through the detector and the alarm went off. She watched as they pulled him aside, and had him hold his arms out. They patted him down, finding a set of keys in his pocket, and then allowing him to pass.
She bit her lip and closed her eyes as she walked through it. If they were going to pat her down, there would be no playful secret left. Stepping to the other side, she breathed a sigh of relief that no alarm went off. She opened her eyes and looked at Zeke who winked at her, twirled the keys in his fingers and put them in his pocket.
“Did you take those keys through with you deliberately,” she asked him quietly.
“Yep,” he replied as he gathered his things from the tub and grabbed the bag.
“Why?” she asked.
“So they would pat me down, instead of you,” he said as they made their way to gate B4.
She hugged him closely as they walked down the ramp to the plane.
“Thank you,” she said.
“Excuse me,” interrupted the flight attendant at the plane entrance. “You’re going to have to leave that bag at plane-side. We don’t have enough room for carry-ons.”
Zeke looked at Lilly and then set the bag down.
“You’ll be able to pick it up when you get off the plane,” said the attendant.
They entered the plane and walked the aisle to their seats. Lilly sat there, somewhat anxious. She looked out the window, wondering what the view would look like. Shortly after the pilot’s voice told them to get ready, the plane started moving. The motion startled her and her stomach tightened.
“I’ve never been on a plane before,” she finally admitted. “What does it feel like?”
“It’s hard to describe. It’s a weird sensation when you first take off,” he answered. “But the moment the plane leaves the ground, your body sinks into the seat briefly.”
As the plane lined up on the runway, she was in deep thought trying to imagine what this experience would be like. Suddenly the plane started rolling very quickly. She could feel the speed in her chest, just like on a roller coaster. Her heart began beating faster, and she smiled. Then the plane lifted off the ground. She tensed her body.
They climbed for a few minutes. Looking out the window, she saw everything on the ground quickly get small. They leveled off and she finally relaxed, settling into her seat. Traces of clouds flew by the window, each glazed with sunlight. She peered down over the wing and saw the tops of clouds. Her mind, ever-creative, made out different shapes.
“Would you like a drink, Miss,” said a voice from inside the plane. She looked back from the window. A stewardess was standing in the aisle with a cart. Zeke’s eyes were closed.
“Yes. Water, please,” she said quietly as the stewardess handed her a bottle of water. Thankfully, they were serving drinks on such a short flight. The only air conditioning in the plane was coming from a tiny fan on the controls above her. A drink of water was exactly what she needed.
She looked over at Zeke who had shifted in his sleep, and his head was now leaning towards her. He had a strong jaw line, a feature which made him handsome. Delicately, she traced his eyebrows with her finger tips. She repositioned herself to face him. She looked at his eyes, closed and peaceful, and she smiled. She touched his cheeks with her fingertips and leaned in, kissing him very softly. She leaned back and traced his lips with her thumbs. She leaned in again, giving him a longer kiss before sitting back in her seat and wiping away a tear. He had found a way into her heart by being very loving and gentle with her.
Zeke was very much the father she wished she could’ve had. Her childhood would have been a lot happier if her father was interested at all in having a daughter. She never felt the bond with her father that she now had with Zeke. She felt neglected as a child, but had never told anyone; not even Zeke. This made his TLC manner much more appealing to her. It was genuine, not based on something she told him about her past.
Her sweet thoughts were interrupted by the plane’s descent. Philadelphia was beneath them already. As they descended, her ears popped and her stomach clenched involuntarily. The landing wasn’t turning out to be as pleasant as the take off. It was at that moment the bottle of water caught up with her. She clenched her bladder muscles, determined to make it into the terminal. The plane hit a little turbulence, startling her, and that was all it took.
She shifted in her seat as she flooded her diaper, incapable of stopping it. The relief was a welcomed feeling as they touched down and slowed to a roll. She reached over and shook Zeke who had managed to sleep through the landing. He woke up and rubbed his eyes as people began standing up to leave.
Lilly unfastened her seatbelt and stood up, not knowing that her diaper had leaked and the back of her dress was soaked. Zeke stood up and stepped into the aisle, waiting for her to get in front of him. She stepped out and began walking up the aisle. Almost instantly, Zeke stopped her and threw the button-down shirt he was wearing around her waist, tying the arms in the front. It was then she realized what had happened.
They moved quickly off the plane, but were held up by the traffic jam of passengers awaiting the arrival of their plane-side baggage. She turned around and buried her face in his chest, wanting nothing more than to get to a bathroom right away. The waiting seemed like an eternity. She tried to not fidget in a diaper which was now swollen and starting to sag.
Finally, after the ground crew had updated each other on the latest news of the Phillies, Sixers, Eagles and Flyers, they got around to unloading the baggage. The moment their bag appeared, Zeke grabbed it and they shot up the ramp. Lilly waddled, bow-legged, with great difficulty, but kept moving.
“We have ten minutes to catch our connecting flight,” Zeke said while fishing through the bag for what she would need.
He stuffed what he grabbed into the baseball hat he had been wearing and handed it to her. She grabbed the hat and shuffled to the ladies’ room. She found the first stall, and occupied it. She took off both button-down shirts, and the wet diaper practically fell to the floor as she lifted the soaked summer dress over her head. She sat on the toilet while examining the back of her dress. It was drenched, and she couldn’t put it back on.
Reaching into the hat, she pulled out a travel pack of wipes and cleaned herself. She looked at the soaked dress on the floor and suddenly realized that she had no dress to cover her diaper. Her mind began racing again.
“What am I going to do? Should I put the wet dress back on? Should I call for Zeke? Even if he heard me, he couldn’t walk into the ladies’ room and I can’t leave this stall! Maybe no one will notice if I just put the diaper on and we go straight to the next plane. I can’t even use the other shirt. The front of the diaper will still be exposed, and everybody between here and that plane will see!” she thought as tears streamed down her face.
She cleaned her hands with another wipe and reached into the hat, pulling out the new diaper and unfolding it. There, inside the diaper, like a saving grace, was a pair of jean shorts that Zeke had quickly dug out. Her tears continued streaming, but now for a different reason.
Thirty seconds later, she walked out of the stall wearing the baseball hat, the shirt, the diaper and the jean shorts. She had the dress and the other shirt balled up in one hand, and in the other hand was the wet diaper which she threw away. She exited the ladies’ room and walked up to Zeke with great intent. She handed him the balled up clothing which he put in the bag and zipped up. She reached up, grabbed the back of his hair, thrusted his head down, and planted an enormous ‘thank you-I love you’ kiss. It was anything, but subtle.
The kiss ended and they paused for a moment to look at each other. Her eyes were beaming with passion, and he felt the same way.
“We gotta move,” he said, breaking the moment.
They ran to their gate, down the ramp, and onto the plane.
To be continued …