When I was seventeen, I was sent out of state to a recovery center for my eating disorder. I took the usual things when I left: clothing, jewelry, and personal care items. I also brought a special blanket my grandmother made me. I spent nearly six months in this facility, and was to return home three days before my eighteenth birthday. Everything went as planned to begin with.
Workers from the facility drove me to the hotel where my grandfather was staying. My grandpa had flown down to escort me on the plane, and we headed to the airport from there. Everything went as well as you could expect in an airport. We checked in, checked our luggage and headed through security. My grandpa had half of a bottle of sprite with him when we attempted to go through security, and was told he would need to throw it away before passing through the terminal. My grandpa, having a sense of humor (and maybe a bit of a defiant streak) told them he wouldn’t need to throw it away and proceeded to chug the remainder of the bottle! I remember laughing at him, thinking he was funny.
We didn’t have a direct flight and had to change planes a total of three times. It wasn’t bad, but it was a pain, rushing from gate to gate during our trip. We finally arrived in Anchorage in the early hours of the next morning. We went to the luggage carousel to claim our bags, only to discover that my bag was missing! My bag contained everything I owned! All of my clothing had been in those bags, along with all of my journals from my rehabilitative stay. These journals were special to me, and they really held some sentimental value as I had outlined and described the turmoil of my eating disorder within the pages. I also had the phone numbers and addresses of other girls who had been in the center with me.
I remember I nearly cried when we realized that my bag was gone. The luggage carousel went around, and around, and around, only for my bag not to show up. We spoke with an airport worker and we were directed to someone who could help us file a claim for the bag. We ended up leaving the airport without my luggage. I remember I was terrified that someone else would find it and be able to read my deepest darkest thoughts about my disorder and the chaos it had inflicted on my life for so many years. I almost felt sick thinking of someone else reading those journals.
We ended up shopping in Anchorage and buying almost a completely new wardrobe for me before making the four hour drive home. I was bothered by the loss of my luggage, but didn’t expect them to recover it, after all, we had traveled across the country and made several flight changes! It didn’t seem likely they would locate it! I was surprised when my grandpa told me a few weeks later that he received a call and they had recovered my luggage! I was so excited! We claimed my bag the next time we were in Anchorage and everything was just as I had left it!