Jake’s flight was delayed by 90 minutes yesterday due to the kind of fog that got Rudolph that awesome job with Mr. Claus. Then, for some reason, his bags were like the very last ones off the plane, so we were well into four hours at the airport before we saw our guy. And I have to say, I felt a little bit like I was in the beginning of the movie, Love Actually.
The international arrivals area has a a metal gate separating the picker-uppers from the two doors and small floor area from which the weary travelers exit. It’s kind of like a theater experience. When we first got there, there was a whole family dressed with Santa hats on and a maybe 17 year old boy dressed as a wrapped gift, literally in a box with knee sox and work boots on. They had a big banner to welcome back Abbie. They left without any commotion, and before we saw if the present dude was her brother or her boyfriend, which was a big debate between Ally and I (I thought it was her boyfriend–what brother would be goofy enough to do that for a sister, was my reasoning).
Even though I was anxious to see Jake’s face, it was really great fun to wait for him. There was a couple that clearly had been apart for a very long time and by the quality and intense PDA of the situation, we were pretty sure that the guy had been in Iraq or something. These two hugged for a solid ten solid minutes. A girl about 16 ran up to her sister maybe 18 or 19 and grabbed her with her face toward me, which seemed to say how much pain she’d felt from her absence and how much relief she felt from her arrival. An older gray haired women spotted the elderly gentleman next to me and they embraced quietly, in a very dignified way (British, I thought). A huge extended family waited for a young woman, and the teenaged girl, who ran to her first, got stuck with the big suitcase, grudgingly, but happily tugging it to the door for her sister. A little boy ran to his dad, with his mom in the background saying, “I told you daddy was coming.” The dad tossed the boy in the air effortlessly and the smile on the little boy’s face was like a little dollop of perfect mashed potatoes. A daughter embraced her mother. And I said to Ally and Peter, “I wish my mom would walk out of those doors.” Now, that would be an arrival!
Every few minutes there was another reunion in varying degrees of emotion. But they all had one thing in common–that whoever was deplaning had been away, and the person awaiting their arrival had not been right without them. There was so much love in that terminal, I was punch drunk, and my mouth hurt from smiling. It was something pretty special to be in the middle of. It seems the perfect antidote to cynicism or a bout of doubt about whether love exists. It does. In many forms and degrees. Just go to the International Arrivals Terminal, and you’ll see it actually dominates.