Oh, hello world. It feels good to be back. I just returned from a leave of absence, taking a step away from the bounds of gravity to reacquaint myself with a special certain someone. My girlfriend returned from her United States trip and now that we’ve compensated for nigh on two weeks’ lack of physical proximity, I feel like I’m settling back down to Earth. With an arrival time of 12.30am Sunday, most of my Saturday was spent in a nervously excited state of fidgeting. Having that kind of distance from a girlfriend has never seemed to have quite that effect on me. I’ve always had an unfortunate (depending on perspective, I guess) habit of compartmentalising, sorting their absence into a little box in the back of my brain that prevents any resultant emotional instability. Not so much this time. I got mopey, missed her voice and her touch. I’ve never before felt the tangible, physical sensation of longing. Maybe I’m getting more sentimental as I age. Maybe I had a stronger support network of friends in my life before I came to this country, lightening the strain. Maybe I’ve changed and matured emotionally in the last few years and this is how love manifests now. Whatever the reason, it was unfamiliar, debilitating and embarrassing.
So after spending the day feeling uncharacteristically anxious and wound up, it came as no great relief to find her flight had been delayed 2 hours. By the time I arrived at the airport terminal (just prior to 3am) I was thankful for the energy drink and coffee pumping through my veins. Time passed and flights came and went. Still hadn’t seen her flight. I asked someone where they’d come from. “Cuba”, they replied. Her flight number wasn’t on the board, but sometimes those change. She was coming in from Miami. Orlando was on the board. Maybe that’s what she meant. I got a text, she was spending ages waiting for her baggage. She was close. My heart started beating , I couldn’t wait for her to walk out the doors. I texted her as much. More time passed and I got another text. She was just about to walk through the doors. She didn’t. A group of people walked out, no sign of her. I got another text saying she’d come through, but I was nowhere to be seen. I looked around, but she wasn’t either. I looked up at the terminal and realised.
I was in the wrong building.
I texted her an apology and picked up speed. Race-walking, I made my way up the stairs and over to the inter-terminal train. 1 minute 48 to wait. It didn’t even tick down in real time, a new message just scrolled over every 14 seconds or so. 1 minute 34, 1 minute 20, 1 minute 06. My heart was beating like a hummingbird as the train pulled in. I boarded and we left almost immediately. I’m not gonna lie, despite my urgent desire to see her, the train was kinda neat. It felt like a monorail, as if we were about to visit Epcot. The train took all of a minute, I ran off and sprinted to find her. Along a horizontal travelator, down some stairs and straight to the seat where she was sitting. I rushed over and held her. We kissed and pawed at each other almost feverishly. It was somehow more emotional than I’d expected, flooded with relief and affection.
It all seems so alien to me. I’m used to being ruled by logic and reason. She was never in any danger, I knew she’d be back within 2 weeks and even going to the wrong terminal wasn’t more than a 10 minute issue (now if we didn’t have cellphones or reception, that’d be a different story. I have no idea how theis 3am situation would’ve resolved back in the 90s). Still, I found myself overcome. It’s amazing to feel this depth of care for someone, while simultaneously being exposed to that kind of emotional fragility terrifies me. I know she’s happy, that she’s not going anywhere, but that doesn’t completely quash that tiny fear in the back of my mind that she’ll leave one day and I’ll be left picking up the shattered remnants of everything I’ve built her up to mean to me. It’s dumb. I know that without opening myself to the possibility of that kind of hurt, there’s no way I’ll be able to invest as much of myself. I haven’t felt like I could give to a partner in this way for quite some time. I’ve been afraid, haunted by the spectre of break ups past.
This time though, pulling back doesn’t feel like an option. I guess there’s nothing for it but to keep all limbs inside the ship. Let’s stay the course for whatever otherworldly experiences we navigate together. If we crash back down to Earth, so be it, but our mangled frames will’ve seen a glimpse of something beyond this world. Who knows? Maybe we’ll just keep on floating out there untethered by anything beyond our hands clasped tight.