Steve is around hellos and goodbyes all day long...has he become immune to it all? I wonder? Does he even notice this anymore? But, when someone witnesses something like this, how can you not engage in the interaction, and possibly even get teary-eyed:
|A toddler Ben hugging Daddy after a 4-day trip|
My #1 most memorable goodbye was when I left for Peace Corps...hands down. My flight was in the morning and since it was before 9-11 my entire family, and Steve, stayed with me at the gate before I left. I was seated in the front of the plane, so I was one of the last to board. I hugged my family goodbye...and then it was time to say goodbye to Steve.
I can recount so clearly how Steve grabbed me so tightly and buried his face into my neck. He buried his face so deep and was sobbing so hard. I can still remember how his body shook as he cried. The hug was so charged. Steve didn't know if he would ever see me again. We left our relationship open in a way, and figured that we would take things as they come. Maybe this was the last he would ever touch me? I will forever remember that goodbye.
To this day he still remembers the gate from which I left. C29 is it? He will never forget, and I am sure that every time he passes that gate he has a flash back from that day. Also, he will never forget the way my grandmother actually walked the terminal following my plane as it was taxiing. Poor guy...that was probably such a draining day for him. Full of goodbyes...and the love of his life leavin' on a jet plane.
As for my best homecoming, that it was when I got home from Peace Corps. I was going to be HOME! Back on US soil. I missed Steve and my family like crazy! I dreamed about this homecoming for weeks! Steve was going to pick me up at the gate...I would run down the jet bridge and right into his arms....he would spin me around, like they do in the movies...and we would just live in the moment. Of course it didn't happen that way...
On my last leg home, and I clearly recall this one passenger wearing a crazy bright green shirt, and black slacks. I am very visual and pick things out like that. Plus, the shirt was just so loud I am sure most people noticed. On that leg, I was in the back of the plane, therefore making me the last person off the plane. As I was walking up the jet-bridge, and the 24 hours prior, all I could think about was that moment of running into Steve's arms. It had been four months since I saw him last, and I was just so excited to see him. I was home, for good! We were starting are lives together!
I waited patiently as the passengers deplaned. I walked past all the seats on that Airbus, out onto the jet-bridge, and walked up that tunnel. I was so excited...I would be seeing him in 5 steps, 4 steps, 3, 2, 1...
Well, wouldn't you know it...green shirt guy was standing right next to Steve, chatting it up. Seriously?! Everyone knows everyone in aviation....somehow. Apparently, Steve went to college with this guy, and they were talking pilot talk, this or that. Well, the moment was ruined! Talk about being anti-climatic!! Oh well. Maybe the grand hello wasn't played out like it did in my head. But, that hello was still the best ever - I was home! And green shirt guy was there to witness it all. Hell, I believe we even walked down the terminal with him.
How does the saying go? "Don't measure life by the number of breaths you take, but rather by the moments that take your breath away." And a good-bye or a hello can surely take your breath away, and give you memories to put a smile on your face, and warmth in your heart.