And Then There Were Two...Again

I stood at the tiny Kingston airport, in my lovely dress, wringing my hands raw. I was actually sweating in the middle of the overly air-conditioned room as I watched the 18 person plane hit the runway and slowly turn back in the direction of the terminal. All I could think about was how my dad still remembers what my mom wore to the airport to pick him up from his tour 30 years ago. Seriously. He can describe her dress and hair to a tea. And suddenly that feels like a lot of pressure. I nervously smoothed my skirt and tucked my hair behind my ear. Then untucked. Then tucked again. It’s true that I had pictured some magical reunion, much like some sappy romance novel. Our eyes would meet, we would run towards each other and Ben would swing me in his arms, scooping me up like a princess. Ah yes, fantasies. They’re just that, aren’t they? I looked around the terminal and already, I can see a hiccup in my romantic reunion plan…there’s hardly enough space for me to take three steps, much less run towards him. I made the dress choice and so if he swings me around, the elderly couple waiting for their daughter will see my underwear. Not the most emotionally touching of thoughts. But then I watched him get off the plane and I was smiling instantly, watching him move in the same lumbering way his 210 frame always has. He looks tired from his 21 hours of travel and his hair is lighter from the Afghanistan sun but he is still the same and I felt comforted by that. I inched closer to the door and a security guard looked annoyed with me. “That’s my fiance. He’s coming home from Afghanistan.” I say it like it is the magical key-phrase to get past him but there is no softening in his face. He just casually puts his arm across the door as if to block me from making a major security breach. Ben makes his way into the terminal before the other passengers. I don’t think he was in the door before we were already locked in each other’s arms. It sounds corny but we were indeed locked. There’s no less corny way to describe it. I’m sure that to everyone else, there was nothing horribly romantic about our hug that lasted forever. I know they must have looked on, oblivious to how long it had been since we had touched or how much it meant to us. But none of that mattered. We hugged until the other passengers gently pushed us out of the way so they could get inside. I inched closer to his neck so I could breathe in the smell of his skin, doing my best to lock it in my memory. We hugged until Ben pulled away, smiled at me and said, “Well? Should we go home?” So that’s what we did. Hand in hand. Looking like any ordinary couple. Pretending that for a moment, we wouldn’t be back here, saying goodbye in three very short weeks. Kelly

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