My plane was meant to take off tomorrow afternoon. I’d spent all of yesterday trying to run into him. I’d braved one bold move, which was honestly not all that bold, and had interpreted his action as reaction, and rejection. I’d invited him to go out with a group of our friends, with me, and he’d said yes, at first. But, when it was just about time to go his roommate had shown up instead, making excuses for his absence, saying friends had come to visit unexpectedly, he apologizes, and all that. It never took much to set my insecurities loose, and this triggered it. All I could think was he’d wanted a way out.
That said, I still wanted to see him one last time.
“Been walking my mind to an easy time,
my back turned towards the sun.
when the cold wind blows,
it’ll turn your head around.
Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line,
to talk about things to come.
Sweet dreams and flying machines,
in pieces on the ground.”
“Fire and Rain” by James Taylor
from the album, Sweet Baby James (1970)
Song Of The Day – September 13, 2011
It was only in passing. Twice. With groups of people around us. You’d made eye contact with me, a gesture, a nod. But, there’d been no words spoken. Before I knew it I was dragging my suitcase behind me, heading toward my departure gate. There was this ridiculous part of me, the side that secretly loves romantic comedies and implausible happy endings, that kept looking over my shoulder in hopes you’d show up to stop me from leaving. In movies, airports are the emotionally charged trope for those happy romantic endings. A tearful goodbye, a heartfelt reunion, the proverbial “don’t go, I love you” moment. The real airport reality never lives up to it’s fabricated romance reputation.
That “don’t go” moment was actually provided by Vice President Al Gore. He was on-flight and scheduled to land in Las Vegas that evening, causing the airport to shut down all upcoming departures. I called my work from a pay phone to tell them, extending my trip for another day with a valid excuse. Though I could hear their eye-rolled disbelief through the phone, I was telling the truth. My gait was lighter as I lugged my bags back the direction I’d come.
This would be my chance to see him again.