5:30 and still in traffic. No clue how long it will take to get to the hotel, checked in, touch up my hair and make-up, change clothes, register with the conference, and then find the meeting room. Panic rises. My face flushes. My pulse races. My toes wiggle in my socks. I clench and unclench my hands. Anything to stop thinking about how late I am going to be to her!
5:38 and finally at the hotel. Grab coat, snacks, water bottle, backpack, and suitcase. Attempt to run. Realize everything is falling out of my hands. Slow down. Breathe. Enter the hotel. Stand impatiently while a lady greets me and tries to tell me how to check in. Move where she points. This man is S-L-O-W. He goes over every detail of the hotel. I finally grab the key and find my friends who were in line after me but waiting for me. Apparently, they did not have Mr. Snail checking them in.
5:48 and headed up in the elevator. My heart is pounding even louder! How can no one hear it but me? A jolt brings me back. Walk/Run off and toward the room. Drop my bags. Pee. Finger comb hair after washing my hands. Fast face fix. Change into my #FANGIRL shirt. Dump backpack and reload with paper, pens, phone, and book. Tell my roommate, "See ya!" and race back to the elevator.
5:59 and the elevator opens to the lobby. A hotel employee is right there and I ask for directions. He points me to another set of elevators. I use my teacher sprint-walk and barely feel the floor under me as I rush to them. This elevator moves like a sloth. I'm never going to get there! The session will have started and I will be the last one and have to sit in the back and she will never see me and I will cry.
6:02 and I step into the hallway. A lady asks if I am looking for the evening session with Stacey Shubitz. Breathless but smiling with all of my teeth, I say, "Yes." She ushers me in. Only five other people are even in the room. Grateful, I find a seat and pull out my notebook and pen. Someone tells me there is food and wine. I get up, fill a plate and glass, and then, I see her. She is right in front of me. Tears fill my eyes as I introduce myself. She knew who I was! (I love Twitter!)
6:25 and I am sharing some of my writing with Stacey. I cry.
8:15 and I am standing with Stacey as she signs my copy of her book and then takes a picture with me. I cry. We hug. I cry again.
8:25 and I tell my travel companions about my time with Stacey and I cry.