Jillian came down to see Halloween Horror Nights (and me, but I’m a scary clown she can see any time of the year). Which might not seem like that big a deal until you consider it takes a good five or six hours just for her to get to Orlando. People don’t realize it, but Florida is a pretty long, bendy state, and there’s no straight line from Panama City to Orlando. You have to basically drive a great big L, and that rhymes with hell, and that pretty aptly sums up a few hours driving through northern Florida.
But that was the easy part. Next came the prospect of getting around a crowded theme park with both rheumatoid arthritis and a possible stress fracture in her foot. She came prepared, with both crutches and a rolling walker, and good dose of stubbornness thrown in for good measure. She hasn’t let her RA keep her from running 10Ks and half marathons; she sure as hell wasn’t going to let it keep her from seeing some haunted houses.
And it didn’t. We had to take it slowly. We had to stop and rest every once in a while. We benefited greatly from the assisted access pass we got from Guest Services. But we saw eight of the nine houses. And only skipped the ninth because I was the tired one. The one not dealing with his own body shooting pain all through him thinking it was helping. Not that she wasn’t feeling it. But it never got her down.
The thing I remember most was us sitting in Diagon Alley. We were resting, having a drink waiting to make our way over to the Bill & Ted show. Jillian had never been in Diagon at night, and all she wanted to do was see the dragon breathe fire into the dark sky. She had her phone out, ready to record. At every little sound she’d ask, “Is that it?” Then it started, and she got this big smile on her face, and neither one of us felt very tired for a little while.
That’s what it’s all about. Not dealing with the pain, not the things she can’t do, not the things she has to do. None of that matters. What matters are the moments you go through all of that in order to have.
And anyway, who cares if you’re walking slow if you’re doing it with someone you love?