Airports are weird around the holidays. Full of people in Santa hats skipping to baggage claim happily and the occasional red-eyed soul sniffling into tissues to themselves.
I wonder about people's private lives here, in this place we all find ourselves regardless of whether we're in the mood to travel.
Tickets are purchased long in advance and plans march forward whether you're in the mood to fly anywhere or not on that particular day.
Today, I wasn't. I felt melancholy but it was fitting somehow with the gentle rain. I wanted to wrap a blanket around myself and read rather than fling myself into noisy groups of strangers rushing onto planes. And then the idea of facing family and acting happy while questions landed like grenades: "How are you?!?" "Meet anyone yet?" I shook my head just imagining it.
The truth is, I'm heartbroken again, like pretty much every Christmas the past few years. Now it's just the cumulative effects -- the most recent experience is just a light slap on an already present wound. It shouldn't hurt, really, but scar tissue has built up making my insides tight.
Last year it was the Cyclist I swooned over, the year before I gushed about the Dark-Haired Boy. This year they will ask me about Alex. There's nothing to say. It wasn't even a relationship. I am considering it over (whatever "it" was) although he indicated we would get together when I am back from my trip. I'm not sure if that will actually happen.
"I was worried we were moving too fast," he tried to explain, which, to me, was code for "I changed my mind."
And that's fine, really -- whatever he feels, he feels. He's not a malicious person and dating is all about discovery but it still doesn't feel that great.
I spent earlier today (when I should have been packing) setting up a new dating profile. I'm going to try a completely different site. It's a pasttime, now, browsing catalogs of potential loves. It infuses hope into the hopeless, tiny maybes among a sea of options.
Later, I spent the entire 2.5 hour flight quietly judging the relationship of the people next to me while pretending to read a book.
After we landed, I made my way over to baggage claim and stood there sullenly, blinking at the empty belt. And then suddenly I saw what looked like... a rabbit turd? And some sunflower seeds?? go by.
Suddenly life was ridiculous again, and there I was laughing.
My dad picked me up and score another happy point, my heart lifted some more and I texted one last reply to the Cyclist. "We're still friends," I told my dad, explaining why I hadn't yet put away my phone. He raised one eyebrow. "Really good friends, actually..." I said, trailing off, unable to put into words the amount of adoration and trust I have for that boy.
So it's been a long day and I don't know how I will talk about all this tomorrow, but I'm sure glad to be here.
(Sent from my phone)