A History of Goodbyes

There is a certain magic in the train journey – the whistling train leaving from the winter station – bringing to mind the romantic movies, the sweet whispered goodbye on the platform, your lover chasing after you, your head out the window, as the train clickity clacks toward a new life, a new place. Promises to write followed by promises to call.

There is no longer a train station goodbye, having been replaced by the romantic airport goodbye. While I cannot remember the railway goodbyes, I can remember waving through the airport window – watching the plane pull out of the gate, backing slowly, pulling forward, speeding down the runway, drifting first into a streaking line, then into but a puff of jet exhaust.

And here we fast forward. Now the goodbye of the airport is the disrobing at the metal detector, the separation of shoes from feet, laptop from carryon, person from person, trying to wave goodbye through the queueing throngs and beeping wands, as you must leave too soon to go through security, just to sit alone in an airport gate area, as your loved ones walk to their car, picking a plane in the sky to wave goodbye to, wishing to themselves that it is yours, knowing inside that it is not.

Now I create my own romance, knowing that the airport or the train will never be as we may perhaps wish.

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