The wall of windows at Gate 17 showed I wasn’t going anywhere tonight.

The snow was blowing sideways, and Flight 153 to Baltimore, out at the end of the boarding ramp, was a silhouette defined only by the lights on its tail and wings, then they winked out and the plane disappeared.

“Ladies and gentlemen …” the announcement began from the check-in counter.

I pulled out my cell phone to call the Boston hotel where I’d spent last night, when the phone rang in my hand. The small, blue screen showed a 617 area code. I didn’t recognize the rest of the number.

“Hello?” I answered.

“Yes,” the voice was a woman’s, “is this Dr. William Travers?”

“It is.”

“Good,” she said with relief. “I apologize …” Her voice was coming from the cell phone, but somewhere else, too. I looked around me, and a young woman about 10 feet away was closing her cell phone. “I wasn’t sure if it was you,” she said, walking toward me.

I had never seen her before, but I immediately knew who she was, and she smiled at my obvious recognition. “Everyone says I look just like her.”

It is breathtaking when memory turns back into reality. Here was the same slender frame, the same auburn hair, the same blue eyes that seemed to smile by themselves.

“My name is Julia Devens,” she said. “I think you know my mother.”

“Yes, I do.” And the last time I saw her, I thought, she looked exactly like you.

(End of excerpt)