International Arrivals

I watch as the sun rises over the pacific, already 2 coffees in. The cool air nips at my nose signaling the inevitable end of summer and the approach of fall. Not that I mind, Fall is my favourite anyway. The changing of leaves, the colours, the warm sun mixed with the cool breeze, even the west coast rain. Everything about it speaks right to my soul. I had to get up early today, I couldn’t bear to sleep in. She is coursing through my veins, along side the coffee.
Everything is ready.  The bed is made, the towels are folded on the bed donned with decorative soaps, I even have some chocolates, her favourite, in a bowl beside her bed.
The fridge is full, the wine is chilled, the patio is prepped and the ocean is calm.
She finally comes home today.

*   *   *

The airport is bubbling with people. Back and forth, I stand near the gate watching people coming and going, embracing one another and heading out to hail cabs. International arrivals has always made my heart conflicted. The joy was undeniable, but there was also a heaviness, a sadness, that I could never quite place. Maybe it was because of the people who were returning from a place their heart remained? Or the ones walking through those gates to a crowed of people welcoming loved ones, knowing there was no one there welcoming them? Maybe it was just the comings and goings of so many strangers, brought with them so many reasons for their arrivals and the ones suffering leave a palpable darkness. Even today, the day of all days, my heart still sinks every now and again, and I wonder who walked by to make it do so.

There is a glass ramp for all the arrivals, spanning 100m from the floor above to the door at the end where they can cinematically walk out, revealing their exhaustion, their tanned skin, their excitement, their relief, their stress, their impatience, and then embraced their fans who are herded by the door patiently waiting. But for those of us watching as the glass case descends them from the top to the bottom, we let our eyes search eagerly, hoping for just one small glimpse.

I see her hair first. It is still as blonde as ever, maybe more so, bleached by the sun. As her eyes find mine and her smile fills her beautiful tanned face, salt water cascades down mine. It’s ridiculous, the amount of tears pouring from my eyes, but there is no one else in the world I miss more at any given time. There is no one else in the world I love more in any given moment, and although she was only gone a year, although I could see pictures, and use Skype and see texts and emails,  my heart was still beating for this moment.

She walks through the gates and I stand still as time stops. I take in everything. Her foreign clothes, her long, perfectly unkempt, wavy hair. She looks like a movie star and a vagabond. Her lean legs are a dark brown to match the rest of her skin, a perfect contrast to her bright blonde hair. and the sparkle behind her eyes, the thing that pictures can’t capture, that videos seem to dull, it shines like a beacon to my soul.

“Hi Mom”
2 words I live for.
“I missed you so much.”
and 5 that validate the entirety of my being.

We hug long and hard. I am not sure i’ll ever be able to let go.

*   *   *

I woke slowly, blissfully. I could feel the sun warm on my skin and smell the salt water on the breeze. I roll over to my side, my heart bursting with love, and look out the window expecting to see the sea.
As I come out of the white haze of my sleep and my eyes accept my familiar surroundings, I can feel blackness slipping up my skin, covering my body and fogging into my eyes, dripping out involuntarily.
The nausea returns as my mind races in all directions. She was just here. I was just with her. No. No, this can’t be real. It cant be.
I lay myself on the floor of my rented apartment’s bedroom and fold my legs in, trying to get as small as I can, like I always do after dreaming of her and tell myself that this is the dream, that this is the nightmare and that I’ll wake up any minute from it.

I have to wake up.

I stay there until the walls close in and until my eye lids are too heavy of a burden to keep open.

One thought on “International Arrivals

  1. Beautiful. I love your posts and feel every second for you as your words bring back those dreams . I held my sons hand in a dream ,never wanting to let it go . Just to hear his voice again and see those sparkling eyes . hear the laugh and the words .. ” Hi mum ” Paul passed 6 months after LILEE. He said he she was an inspiration to him . They are dancing in the rain I am sure .


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