Now Calling Broken Hearts to Board Flight #3445

I have several places that I cannot stand to go: Walgreens, the grocery store, the doctor’s office, and airports.

Walgreens due to flashbacks of retail Hell that still haunt my dreams at night. Grocery stores have been a sensitive spot since covid, anywhere with compressed crowds and the carts don’t help. Doctors office speaks for itself; I don’t know anyone who enjoys going there.

So why airports?

Airports are the most emotional, tear-inducing, and crushing places of travel that I know. One day ago, I dropped John off at the airport. Not for a huge trip, but a work travel that will only be for two days to Houston. Yet when we stood in front of the roped off lanes of security, my heart was skipping beats and my palms itched with sweat. Hugging him tightly in his thick leather jacket and the smell of his mint gum, I didn’t want to let go. Too many times we had to do this during our dating life. I lived in Oklahoma and he was in North Carolina. Unfortunately, parting ways for who knew how many weeks or months was part of our relationship as much as nightly phone calls and care packages.

This trip, though, John was only going to be gone two days. That’s it. Yet the threat of tears tickled in my chest with a tight gripping heart as I watched him go into the security line.

To my right, I noticed a tall man hugging another younger, an older woman standing aside with her hand covering her mouth. The older man was speaking softly to the younger one who was nodding his head against the other’s shoulder. It was clearly a father and son moment, and when they parted, the father saying “call us when you get there, okay,” the son had eyes welled up with tears and tight lips struggling not to tremble.

I wonder how long they were going to be apart from each other. Was this his first time leaving them for a long while? Did he live elsewhere and could only visit sparingly like me and John? In any regard, I understood it on the surface. I was all too familiar with sobbing my heart out with John holding me and trying to assure me that things would be fine and we’d see each other as soon as we could make it happen. Even times where John had tears in his eyes and was holding back shudders of cries as we held onto each other for dear life, not wanting to let go.

But we had to, and now we no longer have to do that. Sometimes, I feel we forget what that life was like, having to say goodbye and not knowing the next time we’d get to hug, kiss, or hold hands. The time when our lives were separate and we had to return to a lonely life of school and work, lonely dinners and twin beds to sleep in because we didn’t need anything for two people.

Now we share a queen and a couch where I wind up snuggling against him.

Until John comes back, until I return to the airport to pick him up again, I have to be okay with being by myself again.

But who can honestly say it’s easy?

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