you say hello, i’ll say goodbye

airports.

oh what about them?? there has been countless articles and thoughts already pinned on this subject but since i have been sitting in one for the last 3 hours i thought i would share my thoughts.

normally, i love airports. i love watching the people–people are my muse. the crying babies, the diva women who wear high heels on the airplane (my least favorite!), the excited kids bound for Disney world, the volleyball team, the professional football or basketball teams, the families, the annoyed daughter or son, the lone travelers–like me. most of the time people traveling alone are older–businessmen and women, college students, people going to see their family. but you never know. of course you don’t, you can’t look at someone and know their story.

i look at the luggage and the tags, the abbreviations: DIA, KCI, LAX, MKE. the three letters stand for a city. why are you going there? is it your home? your sister’s home? did you used to live there? do you go to school there? is it your step before you are home? you never know. that’s why i love airports: because you never know and you realize that the women who you let go ahead of you in the security line because your id was stuck in your wallet and the man who commented on your shoes and how much easier they are to get on than his; well, you realize that you’re never going to see them again but in that moment, they made you feel okay, better. after throwing up over ten times and feeling sick and alone, they made you feel better. that’s what they were there for. and now they’re gone. that why i love people, most people, and that why airports are one of the places that i am okay with being in for a long period of time normally.

normally. i say normally because i think that this might be changing. let me explain. i love to watch the reunions. beka and i have explained ours that occurred a little under 2 months ago countless times, each time in a fit of laughter. how i dropped my luggage on the ground because i couldn’t get it past the crowd of people, how she was wearing a bright yellow sweatshirt and overalls, how she jumped on me, her feet off the ground, how my pants almost fell down because they weren’t belted tight enough. reunions make my heart soar but the more and more times i go to the airport, the more and more times i have to face the flip side of the reunions: the departs. i have never been good with goodbyes or until laters. i cried yesterday at lunch with ellen and katie left. i couldn’t force out more than “bye”  out when i left beka on the bus. i am not good with those moments. i do not like to leave–even for 2 weeks–the people who i love. it always seems like forever to me, like i am never seeing them again, ever, even when i know that that’s not true. how can i stop that feeling from entering my brain? are humans logical people? shouldn’t my heart know its not forever if my brain keeps telling it that? oh, i don’t know.

that’s why airports are becoming harder though, i think, because the more time i go to airports and wait there for hours, the more i realize that airports are giant metaphors for life. you see people who you wish you could be. maybe they’re one of those people that always loks good while flying (something i don’t understand). maybe they’re going to sunny Florida and that’s where you want to be, on the beach. maybe they’re the ones having the reunion and you just left the people that you love. maybe you just had a reunion you didn’t want to have and you see people saying goodbye and you want to be them. whatever it is, there is always someone there that you wish you were. and there is always someone there that you wish you weren–the women with the lost luggage, the man sitting with the crying baby, the women being kicked by the kid in the seat behind her, the young woman throwing up. there’s always someone who makes you feel better about yourself–just like in life. there are people taking their time and people hurrying, just like different people live their lives.

but even more so, airports are life because there are always hellos and goodbyes being said and the more i live life, the more i realize that that’s what a vast majority of life is: saying hello and saying goodbye. i mean weddings are saying hello to a new life, graduation is both, death is a goodbye, birth a hello. new friendships, a hello. break ups, a goodbye. that’s all we’re doing here: saying hello, blinking too fast and then saying goodbye. what a glorious circle.

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