“Oh no, I meant your dog’s name. But Xylia…” I heard the interest in her voice. “That’s very different−I like it.”
“Thank you,” I tried to force a smile. I always thought my name was hideous. Standing there, I felt Star nudge my leg with her nose. “My dog’s name is Star, by the way.”
I heard her chuckle, then the drawer of the register opened as she went to make change for me. “Did you name her that? Or was that the name that she was given?”
An actual smile came to my face. “I did.”
I held out my hand, waiting for her to place the change into it. Can we hurry this up, if you don’t mind? I do have a plane to catch. I felt the cool coins drop into my palm, then slid them into my coat pocket.
“So, are you traveling by yourself Xylia?”
“No. I’ve got my little brother here with me. We’re used to this. We come about five times a year.”
There was a voice behind me. “Mommy, I want to go pet the dog!” A child. I get that a lot. The little ones see Star and want to rush over and play with her. I heard the mother whisper back “Leave that dog alone honey.” That’s the end of that conversation.
“Oh,” Again, the wonder in her voice.
I’m used to that though. I reached out on the counter, grasping what I knew was a plastic bag. I took it in my left hand, and held on to Star’s harness with my right. I knew the woman behind the counter was smiling at me.
“Well, you have a good flight Xylia. Take care.”
“Thanks, you too.” And I walked out of the store with Star, right at my side where I wanted her.
I someone came walking over to me. I recognized the familiar sound of the sneakers he had on. “Lia, did you find everything okay?”
Of course I knew that voice. It was Emmit. I told him to wait outside while I went and got a few goodies for our ride home. I like to stock up on my candy supply before my adventures.
“Yep. I got everything I need…is it late? We’re not late, are we?”
I’m always a bit of a worry-wart when it comes to being on time. Mom and Dad would both have a panic attack if we missed our flight.
“The plane came in while you were in there. Boarding starts soon…we should probably get going.”
I heard his sneakers go to the right, and we started walking towards the gate. Luckily, we never had a far walk at Albany airport. Around me, there was the noise of footsteps, the wheels of luggage rolling across the floor. I could smell the cooking going on in one of the nearby restaurants. It was that smoky scent of a grilled, delicious steak. As we kept going, the uneasiness started to set in.
It was easy to sense what was going on as I walked past the crowds of people. That awful feeling of knowing that a whole bunch of people are just staring at you−it freaks me out. I always wished that they could just…stop it, but I’m sure some people find it difficult to understand why a girl would be walking with a golden retriever in the middle of the airport.