When I was a little girl, my dad had to take an emergency trip to visit his family. His dad had something wrong. I can’t remember if it was a heart attack or a brain tumor, but it was major and he had to get down to see him quick. We lived in Montana at the time. The Billings airport is a tiny affair, really cute, with about 4 gates. Remember the days before 9-11 when you could walk up to the gate to greet your friends and family? I loved airports.
When we went to pick up my dad, my mom had us all dressed up really cute. I was probably 3 or 4, and I had on a cute little khaki skirt. Don’t ask me how I remember that (I don’t remember how to do square roots but I can tell you what I wore on just about any occasion as a child). Now this part of the story might not have been remembered had the story not been re-told a thousand times: when my dad came off the airplane, for his carry on luggage he had brought home for my mom one red and one yellow-meated watermelon. One in each hand. Texas watermelon is far superior to Montana watermelon and it’s her very favorite thing in the whole world. It was one of the cutest, sweetest, most thoughtful gestures ever.
Usually when you go to the airport you’re there to pick up someone you haven’t seen in awhile. Someone you’ve missed. Or, you’re leaving on a grand adventure. Airports were always so exciting for me.
Now I hate the airport. I hate it.
Because it’s not a place that I often go, it’s just harder. The pain of it hasn’t worn off yet. Everywhere I look is a reminder of my husband. I look up in the main area by the fountains and see him literally running to me the time he picked me up from visiting my brother. I look down the row at passenger pickup and wish I could see the little white truck come around the bend one more time. We were always sheepishly embarrassed about being away from each other. Embarrassed about how much we missed each other.
As I sit there waiting for my sister and her family to arrive from London, I look to the left and I see the little family, the dad with the two little boys waiting for their mom and they’ve made her a sign. It’s so cute and so precious and I just grieve. That will never be me. I see the couple embrace and kiss, so glad to see each other and I just long for my husband. I just miss him.
I wish so much that he was just on a long trip, and that someday I could just go out to the airport and pick him up.