delayed planes & teary goodbyes


I don’t remember the last time I wasn’t missing someone. I don’t remember the last time I sat in an airport Departures Gate without having just said goodbye to someone. I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t thinking and saying and dreaming, I wish you were here, or I wish I was there, or I wish we were together. I wish we were all together. I wish hundreds of miles could break down into a five-minute walk up the street. I wish meeting in the middle meant we were within a walkie talkie range of one another. I wish that I lived in a Wishing World where I never had to miss any yous. But I don’t, and so I am glad for the yous I get to miss. Glad because if missing you means having you, then I will gladly miss you any day. I will gladly think and say and dream, I wish you were here, I wish I was there, I wish we were together. I wish we were all together. I’ll say teary airport goodbyes, and I’ll hurt as I miss you, and you, and you. But I’ll smile, too, because having someone to miss is a privilege. A privilege like I love you.

Home is where the heart is. And my heart hasn’t been broken in a way that could inspire Nicholas Sparks to make millions. Instead, it has been shared. Little pieces given to those I love and to those I root myself to—those who have made anywhere and everywhere home. Because I’ve spent a lot of time waiting in airports. Waiting in busy airports with delayed flights and cancelled hours and teary eyes. And I’ve waited on grounded airplanes to take flight, and I realize that I, too, am in flight. And unlike the freshly cut oak tree trunks with seventy-eighty-maybeninety rings that we’d count as children, I have yet to root myself deep into a Forever Home. Instead, I’ve rooted myself to people. Grounded myself to parents and best friends and a brother and  roommates and a sister and neighbors and kindness and a cat that chases me up carpeted stairs that my childish feet used to trip down. And in the sharing of my heart, I’ve been given pieces in return. Been given love and friendship and generosity from people who are now my home.

Because home is where the heart is.

And my heart is with you.

And you, and you, and you.

And I wish you were here, and I wish I was there, and I wish were together. I wish we were all together.

Maybe there is a Wishing World where home isn’t expansive and spreading, and we are all like the old oak tree, grounded together, rooted together, filling in the rings and not ever having to say, I wish you were here. But, maybe in that world, I wouldn’t be in flight. And I wouldn’t have met you, and you, and you. And I wouldn’t be missing any yous with teary eyes in the airport Departures Gate. But getting to miss you is a privilege and it’s rewarded with giddy smiles in the Arrivals area. Hellos follow goodbyes. Home is always on the other end, no matter where you’re flying. If you let people hold onto pieces of your heart, they will always be waiting with a home and love and kindness.

Home is where the heart is.

Home is where you are. And you, and you, and you.

Home is the smell of brewing coffee and the begging to stay up for just one more movie and then falling asleep five minutes in. It’s the sound of revving dirt bikes and the taste of Taco Bell at one am. It’s cruise control on a stretching highway and a rainy day spent inside with a book and flavored green tea. Home is missing class to go to breakfast with a best friend and it’s the favorite food that awaits your arrival at the front of the stocked cupboard. It’s a kiss good night and it’s a hand holding your hair when you’re kissing the toilet good night. It’s the way you’re recognized at your local farmers market and it’s the sampling of ice cream flavors in new places. It’s tight grasps on hands and memories. It’s slurred iloveyous and it’s the middle of the night macaroni and cheese. It’s a warm pan of brownies and a full carton of milk. Home is the way the rain falls into freshly-cleaned gutters and it’s the way souls and bodies shake when they hold back tears saying goodbye at the airport. Home is giddy smiles and warm hot chocolate waiting to kiss your lips. Home is the Arrivals Gate and the open arms waiting to embrace you.

Home is where the heart is.

And my heart is spread and shared and it’s always wishing you were here, wishing I was there, wishing we were together. Wishing we were all together.

Home is where the heart is.

And even when I’m up in the air—flying and wishing—my heart is always with you.


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