i received a cellphone call at work but didn't bother answering it because the caller id said it was an out-of-area call. whoever it was left a message, which turned out to be renata, calling from the road, alerting me to the fact that she had changed her itinerary and was coming back to boston tonight and not tomorrow afternoon, and giving me the details of her flight so i could go pick her up. her voice was calm, which probably meant she was a nervous wreck. since i couldn't call her back, i called her mother instead to let her know that i got renata's message and would be able to pick her up later tonight.

adam and i went out together for lunch, just like old times. we went to downtown crossing, where i got a large beef chacarero sandwich (it's good to be back!) while adam got something from wendy's. adam came with me to broad street so i could get my driver's license back from john's law office. the receptionist, wearing red pants, gave me back my id.

after work i came home, then rode out to my parent's place for dinner and to borrow the car. the night was clear (as opposed to last night, when it was cloudy), and mars shone brightly in the southeastern sky. i was hoping after i picked up renata, i'd have time to return home and set up my telescope for some martian viewing (however, this would not be the case).

the plane from chicago was arriving sometime after 10pm, so i left belmont around 9pm. when i got there, i saw the flight was delayed and wouldn't arrive until after 11pm. so i had about 2 hours to kill down at terminal c. there were a lot of stores, including a dvd player rental shop and a bookstore, but they were all closed, metal gates pulled down so you could see inside but just couldn't get in. the late night clean-up crew was working, one of them riding a floor polishing machine. i sat around, writing journal entries on little slips of receipts. i went exploring, then called alex. terminal c features the kinetic sculpture of george rhoads, i spent some time spacing out to that, watching rubber balls traveling in a complex rube goldberg device.

i figured when i saw renata she'd be all covered in dirt with twigs in her hair, a real wild child after spending a whole month in the wilderness. i saw her coming out of the gate towards the gauntlet of families and friends also waiting to pick up their loved ones, looking the same as i saw her last back in late july. we went downstairs to the luggage carousel to pick up her camping backpack, a large heavy purple monstrosity that i don't believe renata had to carry with her while in yellowstone. she reminded me that it was even heavier before, when she also had to carry her food and water supply. from a bag she handed me a present, a box of canadian maple creams chocolate. she also said she had some bad news for me: she didn't have her house keys (her parents had them, as well as her car), so she was wondering if she could stay over at my place. i of course had no objections to her request (mike lee, who was supposed to move in tonight, once again didn't show up).

we got to the car, where renata proceeded to quickly show me all the photos she took on her trip, all 200+ of them, snapshots of the people in her group, geysers, hot springs, wolves, elks, and wildflowers. driving back into town, she called her mother to let her know she got back safe and sound and wondered if she should get her set of spare keys from her aunt sally, even though it was really late at night and she's 90 years old and would probably freak her out to hang someone ring her doorbell. nevertheless, we drove by her aunt's house in the remote hope that maybe she'll still be awake. seeing that none of the lights were on, we finally went back to my place, but not before i stopped off at my parents' to pick up my ibook. mars will have to wait.

at the house, we chatted for a few hours about her adventures, before she had to go to bed. i gave her a toothbrush to use when she couldn't find her own. it was 3am, the latest i've seen renata staying up to. i held out for another hour before i too went to sleep as well.