Here I am in the Montreal Airport. Weird to think of myself as on my own.
What is strongest in my mind, is the images of my family. The last glance I had as I took my leave. Now those sights are like photographs in my mind. My grandfather... there is a fair chance he will die before I return. I have two images of him in my mind. In one, he is sitting in the rocking chair in his sunroom, fully smiling. I am looking back as I walk out of the room, we had just said our goodbyes. In the other image, he has come to stand in the door of his old stone house as we drive away. He is not smiling now, and he is the only shape in the otherwise black doorway; he looks for all the world like a specter. My mother, looking exactly like my mother, smiling, standing outside the bus terminal as my father and brother, and I drive away. I had missed my bus to the Montreal airport, so my father was giving me a ride to the airport, and my brother was coming along too, but not my mother. I remember her distinctive smile, her distinctive style, that I can recognize from two blocks away. I remember Alexander (my father) and Keir (my brother) watching me leave beyond the security gate. I am walking away, looking back over my shoulder, and I blow them a couple of kisses. Alexander catches his. Keir stands behind him- they are so close, and moments ago I was close with them. Now the hundred feet between us cannot be crossed, unless I abandon my trip.
Now I am in Philadelphia. Now there is geography between me and my world as well. Amazing. It is an odd feeling to walk through the airport. Alone. At first I felt a little paranoid, like someone to be wary of was walking right behind me. My family has always been a constant lifeline. Never far, never unreachable, never beyond their near immediate help. Until now. Now I am operating solo. Twenty and a half years of prep for this trip, and here I am. Waiting for a plane. In Philaphelphia. The last of the sunset is just fadeing. For me, the sun will rise somewhere over the Atlantic.