I’m twiddling my thumbs in the airport on my way to the start of another adventure.
I left home at 5am and it’s still silly early but by now you would have called me 4 or 5 times to check on everything. It was one of our many running jokes that you’d call to check on me whilst I was still on the bus… before security… in the lounge…. at the gate…. as if I hadn’t done it all a hundred times before.
It’s tough that each thing that’s a first time since you died is somehow filled with the absence of you. Right now I’m thinking how wrong it is that I haven’t spoken to you to say goodbye, even though I’ve already said my final goodbyes, said all of the goodbyes I’m going to get. Since you saw no problem with saying your ta tas again and again, I guess I can do the same.
To substitute our usual tradition I called mum instead. Strangely we don’t usually speak of you that much. It’s still a bit too painful. We’re all a bit too determined not to cry in front of each other so there are many many words that cannot be said. But we chatted as I did the obligatory sniff of every perfume in duty free and, perceptive as ever, she said I must be missing my goodbye with you.
You know mum often has that unfortunate knack of wording things in a way that makes me snarly for no good reason? This time she got it just right: ‘the goodbye doesn’t matter – he’ll be with you, he always was’. I needed to hear that. Her voice cracked, so did mine, but I was glad your absence was acknowledged. Just those few words helped put you back where I need you, back in my life if only as a space, a pause for thought.
An irrational corner of my mind feels that I’m leaving you by leaving, as if just staying where you last were might somehow summon you back again.
I know that the last thing you would want would be for me to play the loyal little dog sitting on a grave. But I feel like I have a hole inside and it’s hard to know what to do with that, what I can grow there, what can bloom.
There are no fixes but I’ve decided to think of this time around as you coming with me, sharing more of my trip than you ever could before. I think you would have liked that – one more country for the tally.
This morning the UK rolled out her finest for us. The drive to the airport was backlit by a full moon and timed by the spread of pinks and golds across the sky. Cows stood knee deep in flags of mist lying over the fields and the fields looked freshly made.
As I got to the airport the sun broke across the horizon in a ball of flame. I thought of that INXS lyric ‘the sun comes like a god. Into our room. All perfect light and promises’. It was as if the dawn had been choregraphed just for me.
It feels like a good day for a new start. I feel a bit like it’s my first day of school – excited, nervous and no idea what to expect. You would probably tell me not to worry, that I always kick ass….
When I arrive I’m sure I will feel some of this muddy jumble again, sending my usual ‘the eagle has landed’ message to one less person. But I’ll tell myself I have you with me and maybe that thought will be enough.