The Airport

They always say “home is where the heart lies,” and my heart lies with Brian.¬†As I was leaving chilly Laramie to return to sunny California, I realized I had no idea when would be the next time that I came home.

I’ve been in a melancholy mood ever since my return (and getting sick didn’t help). Perhaps my closest friends know that inside I’m a sap, but in truth, I’m not always good at adequately conveying my deepest emotions. So when Brian wrote me this letter, I asked his permission to reproduce it here… because it’s more honest and true than I could have written it.

I dropped you off at the security check-in, and watched your slow progress down the line from my vantage on the balcony. In the time I was watching, they went from one person checking IDs to four; this speeded your movement, but not as much as I would have expected. Eventually you moved past the baggage check, recovering your things. A wave, a blown kiss, and you were gone.I wandered slowly back through the airport, feeling the days, weeks, months until I would see you again press down on me like weight. It was palpable, and it hurt. But here I was in the middle of the airport, and it would look silly to let it show, so I didn’t. Instead, I continued my walk around to no-where in particular, glancing in airport shop windows and watching ten thousand strangers pass by without noticing me, or each other.Tired from the small handful of sleep I had torn away from the night, I wandered in a direction coffee was likely to be found. I guessed correctly; however, the prospect of waiting in the line of people who were waiting to order so they could wait to have their drinks made wasn’t as attractive as remaining tired. So instead of ticking down minutes till coffee, I resumed the task of ticking down the days till you were there again.

My current goal was to get back on horrendous roads before they became un-passable again, but I would only do this once I knew you were safely at your gate with no chance of delay to your flight. If the roads became unstable, I could always find a hotel. I walked over to a place near the side of the airport where I thought I would be close to where I parked, and searched for a place to sit down. Next to a slightly askew set of televisions displaying arrivals and departures (oh good, yours was still on time), I found a bench. One seat was occupied by a man, and another was occupied by a different man’s luggage, who was found standing next to it, apparently having decided that he was okay but his baggage could use a rest. I didn’t feel like company, so I resumed my search.

As I was about to walk by the askew television wall, I noticed why it was askew. There was another row of seats stashed behind it, facing the back of the tele-wall. I looked for a reason it could be there (is it broken? Wet?) but none could be found. Deciding that having a seat alone with a view of no one was exactly what I wanted, I went and sat down. My view was of the back of the tele-wall: black, with a stretch of particle board running up a portion of it. I looked for a reason for the particle board to be there, but could find as much of a reason for it as I could find a reason for this odd bench to be stashed here.

I had been absentmindedly checking my phone to see what time it was and to see if your plane had boarded yet, and my phone again found it’s way into my hand. It told me nothing I didn’t already expect, so I put it back. I resumed my bored examination of the particle board, idly wondering what you were doing, and hoping you managed to get a little sleep on your flight. It was then that I noticed something small on the not-quite bottom of the left side of the board.

Someone, perhaps finding themselves both here and in possession of a pencil, knowing they were out of the sight of others, had written a word. I don’t know if they expected it to be read, it being written in such a secluded area of a place where the people are always moving, or if they simply wanted to express themselves and move on as well. But they had taken the time to write it in surprisingly legible cursive.

love

was all it said. I read it, and found myself smiling. The tears I had kept locked up since the moment I remembered you had to leave suddenly disappeared. I can’t explain why a stranger’s single written word had affected me so profoundly, but looking at it, I knew that it was going to be all right: for me, for you, for us. I knew I could wait. It wouldn’t be any easier than it would have been before, but now I knew it would be okay. At the end of it, there would be you.

My love.

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