"Your license is expired, Ma'am." The tall, slim security person exuded serenity even as her almond-shaped eyes appraised me. I stared at her in disbelief, wanting desperately to prove her wrong.“
"It expired in 2005," she added, and promptly handed back my Minnesota driver's license. The cool, navy blue suit she wore matched her demeanor; no pity or emotion showing through her chiseled features. This was just a job. I peered at my driver's license. It was true. It had expired on the last day of October in 2005. My mind was reeling, searching for reasons.
"Do you have another ID?" she queried. "Yes," I said triumphantly, "I have a passport," and immediately dug trembling hands into my purse. I quickly zipped open one compartment after another--in vain. The man in line behind me pushed forward, showing his ID. Others followed and still I looked.
"Are you driving?" Her question caught me off guard. "No," I answered, surprised at how quickly that two-letter word slipped off my tongue.
"Umm..." a small voice inside me protested, "that sounded a bit deceptive, don't you think?"
"I didn't drive to the airport." I said then, feeling a little more righteous.
"Oh, where is my passport...GOD, pleease..." My hands whipped through the contents of my purse like an ATM machine dispensing dollar bills.
"Psst! You still haven't told the whole truth," the small voice insisted.
"I have been driving these days..." I began, looked at my interrogator and decided it was too complicated to explain: "You see, I live in Brazil...came to the States only a few days ago...grandkids..." She probably thinks I am really spaced-out--imagine! My driver's license expired in 2005 and I didn't KNOW??? There's no way she'll believe me."
"Ma'am, if you don't have an ID I will have to call security and they will search you. Are you okay with that?" Her voice sounded pleasant enough, but her word--search me--left a Gestapo-ish, KGB-ish echo lingering in the air-conditioned airport air.
"Let me look one more time," I pleaded. My panic level was rising as I now knelt down on one knee to get a better grip on my purse, on myself. "God???" my mind screamed.
And then the passport was there--in my left hand--like it had come out of hiding. And it had been there all along, safely tucked beneath my boarding pass and other papers as I wildly searched my purse and reshuffled its contents.
"Here it is," I said to the security lady, flashing my little blue passport at her like a trump card.
She smiled, took the passport from me, looked at my picture, at me and handed it back. I walked away feeling like I'd just passed my bar exams though I suspect now the real 'exam' was not about an expired license or a lost passport. It was a true or false pop quiz (it pops up when you least expect it!) administered by God himself. I had tripped up on the first question ("Are you driving?") but had set the record straight and I walked tranquilly down the ramp toward seat 13C on American Airlines flight 4378 to Chicago.