Lost everything at airport, yet found a true friend

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by Alexandra Lander
Tualatin author of “saffire_21”
Alexandra’s blog

First Prize Winner ($50) in Oregon Women’s Report “Thank You, Girlfriend” contest

“Janis!” I wailed into my cell phone, standing next to the lost-baggage counter at PDX. “They sent my carry-on to San Francisco instead of Portland! That’s why I had a carry-on in the first place, so nothing would get lost for my job interview tomorrow! Now they can’t deliver it until tomorrow morning!”

Her voice was calm and reassuring. “Don’t worry. This will all work out. You’re just exhausted right now, so come on over and you can fall into bed and deal with everything tomorrow.”

Janis was my friend of six years, who I’d met while living in California. Life circumstances separated us when I moved back east, and then later she moved to Portland, Oregon. Now life was bringing us back together as I planned another move out west. Janis was like an additional big sister, whose looks and youthful spirit defied her true age, whose zany sense of humor could often have an entire room of people in stitches, and whose passion for life matched my own. She loved a good adventure, and this visit was certainly shaping up to be one.

When I got to her house, she greeted me with a big hug, showed me my room and guest bath, and said goodnight. I noticed that she had decorated the tissue box with photos of John Cusack—my long-time celebrity crush. She always remembered the little things. Her life-saving humor at work, just when I needed it the most.

The next morning, the bag did not arrive. Janis leapt into action. I heard the Mission Impossible theme in my head as she fired up the Subaru and drove me to the nearest Fred Meyer. In ten minutes’ time, we had my “replacement” outfit. Next, she whisked me off to a Kinko’s to print new resumes for the job fair. Finally, she rushed me home and dug out all of her makeup for me to borrow. As I dressed, she printed out directions for me to get from the job fair to the interview. She wanted to make sure nothing else went wrong—like getting lost in an unfamiliar city.

I rocked the interview, despite it all. To celebrate, Janis took me to the Portland City Grill for a martini. As we looked out over the city, she told me, “Some people would say that all this was an omen, and that you’re not meant to be here. But I say you made it here, got through all the obstacles, and you survived! So of course you’re supposed to be here.”

So I never did get the job. But I moved to Portland anyway, got another job, and we’re both still enjoying our Oregon adventure together.