Bittersweet

Sitting there, waiting.

As people rushed past to catch their flights, the occasional teary eyed passenger saying goodbyes to solemn friends and family. We sat at a greasy table in pregnant silence, consuming overpriced, watery coffee and pastries. My brothers making dad jokes to lighten the mood but instead emphasising the weight of this pause.

For the first time in my life we small-talked, mentioning awkward news and facts, we had become distant before I had even left.

I saw you trying to hide your sobs by queuing for another drink, but I couldn’t face acknowledging it because it would make this moment real. As mum went to ‘pay for your drink’ everyone did their usual cover-the-bluff as if to hide the emotions that were plaguing the departure gate.

In hindsight, I notice, no one asked about things far off maybe because we didn’t want to admit to ourselves the truth of 11 months without me visiting home.

It was awkward for you to go back to your everyday life and see my absence in every space I used to fill. But I was stepping into a new unknown, everything was without you, so I did not feel the absence just yet.

So here we sat together, but our thoughts far away. Waiting. Counting down the moments till I had to go.

And then it came. It was as though there was no one in the big white building apart from us, I don’t remember any other sound than the words that caught in our throats. Tears finally came to me for the first time as the numbness left and could feel it pierce.

One last turn to say goodbye and then everything came crashing back into sound and colour as I stepped forward towards the surreal motion of the conveyor belts.

“Please remove any coats and jackets and wait till called through”

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