Friday, October 29, 2010

Living in an Airport

These days, I feel like I live in an airport
Which I suppose isn’t an awful thing
I’ve always liked going to the airport
Usually it means you’re going somewhere and
Since I’ve never really travelled for work
It usually means I’m going somewhere exciting or
Going to see someone exciting and
It always means I’m getting out of town
Unless I’m not
Unless I’m welcoming someone who
Is getting out of their town or
Picking someone up who is returning to mine
Even then I’m not unhappy because
I get to watch
Hugs, kisses, tearful embraces, and
People sprinting into open arms
Wearing those expressions that are so raw you have to turn away
It’s almost better than being involved in them but
I’m old
So I remember when all of this took place at the gate or
Even on the funny little retractable hallway
Connecting the plane to the gate
You weren’t supposed to do that but
When my sister came up from Columbia at three months old
My mom did it
Since then I don’t think I’ve witnessed it personally
Since then it seems like it’s been moving steadily closer to home
First it was back at the gate
Then came 9/11 and
Either you waited until baggage exchange or
You had your emotional reunion at the metal detectors
Then I had children and
Went where few men go
Home all day with the kids while my wife went to work
Every day and
Came home every day and
Hugged and kissed the kids each time she came and went
The ritual has involved sitting in the back of the car in the driveway
Waving from the kitchen window
Running down the street
Holding the two of them
One in each arm
As Mama drives down the street
Hand out the window waving until she turns the corner and
Drives out of sight
Regardless of the specific ritual, however
It is always emotional
Always involves hugs and kisses and
I am always watching
It’s like living in an airport but
As long as it doesn’t move right into the bedroom
While I’m still sleeping
I’ll savor the goodbyes and the hellos and
No matter how raw the emotion
I won’t be looking away

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