Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Airport Story

And it was such a simple thing he did, such a simple act. One that allowed my soul to bleed freely. One that deepened my breath finally. One that would serve as a lighting rod for my jagged, little heart.

And it was such a simple act. Between two people. Two humans. When everything can be so difficult. When disconnect is the norm. When lifelong friendships can unravel quietly and fade into yesterday. When families gather awkwardly, with nothing to say because it never was said and all the words just froze up somewhere along the way. Because we’re all so busy, aren’t we? And we always have things on our minds.

My dear friend Ian arrives from California today. He lives in the woods with his wife and his kids. When I’m with them, I relax. Because I’m loved. Because I don’t have to be anything even close to perfect. Because together, we know how to love one another and show it. And it’s simple. It flows and heals and crashes over me, again and again. It seems so simple, that kind of love. But it’s not always that simple, is it? To feel love like breeze on your face.

Phone rings. Detach. The hardware is broken again. Computer voices with too many choices. Buffalo-Ranch-Flavored Doritos and Rainbow-colored Goldfish for the Kids. Because the Kids don’t have enough dyes and poisons and why not, in the form of cute glowing orange fish? DVD players in big fat cars, because we don’t watch enough, do we? Women with cell phones melting into their faces, into their glands. Words, because women are talking too much. We’re all talking too much. Disconnect.

Ah, my friend Ian. Haven’t seen him in years. Drove thru mazes at 80 miles per hour to see him, to get to him. Think, think. What exit? Right or left? Exit what? Is he a departure or an arrival? Why can’t I think of the answer easily? Is he a departure or an arrival? My mind gets so fuzzy anymore.
It’s alright. Our moment will happen soon and wake me up again. My simple moment is arriving any minute.

I wait by the baggage claim. Bloated, ruddy people. T-shirts that say things because there’s not enough ads shoved in our faces, is there? Walking billboards on warbling, big bellies. Big blobs of never-ending “feed me.” Feed my hole. And I can’t figure it out anymore, how to find anything good in people. I simply can’t see it. Where the good is, underneath the ads and the fat and the words and the voices that could crack glass and the cell phones and the greed.

But he will be here and I will have my moment with him. It’s not that big, but it’s huge. His name is Ian and he is beautiful. He lives in the woods and he radiates and he loves easily. Over the next few days, I will seem like a live wire of flighty emotions around him and he won’t understand that it’s love disguised, because my heart is weak and flabby from underuse and dull with common pain.

I will wish, after he leaves, that I would have told him more, more of what he means to me. I will wish my love wouldn’t twist inside of me and turn into touchiness and oversensitivity. He loves easily and I do not. I think too much and I am too dark because the world disturbs me and the depth of it’s ugly sickens me and shuts me down.

Ian! At the end of a long runway of orange-green carpet, many miles from me still, I see him. I feel so small and shaken from stress and caffeine. He looms looks so large and walks so slowly. His eyes suddenly catch me. Come on, Ian, I think. We’re late and why can’t he hurry like me? We have Things To Do now that you’re here. Let’s jam it in until we’re unaware of it all!

He’s getting closer and I see him smile.

I’m sorry for my simple story. Because here is the climax, here is the simple act: he opens his arms. That’s it. He opens his arms fully, as wide as mountains and I’ve forgotten such a basic gesture. And suddenly, my body starts shaking, from the inside out. Someone is walking toward me with mile-long, outstretched arms. Welcoming me, inviting me. Me. My human invitation.

I hear a little voice inside of me scream. Scream! Scream from the pain and joy of it all. Shake, because it is rare, this simple act, in my life and I can’t imagine why. My shoulders go slack and I feel like I might fall to the ground. I let my friend wrap his big arms around me. And I know, for one brief second, I’m home.

Nobody does it. And we’re all dying for it. Because phones vibrate and people hurt animals and we can’t speak properly anymore. Because the trash keeps flowing and the babies keep coming. Because we’re all crumbling apart and we pretend like we’re not…and we’re proud of our detachment. Because our hearts are icy and our eyes are glazed. Because we douse our homes in floral-scented bleach and smiley-faced bug killer. Because we believe the bullshit.

I fall into his arms like a broken doll and let the mountains wrap around my tired, trembling shoulders. A million forgotten tears fall on the worn and ugly carpet. He smells like a man and his face is warm. We are all warm bodies with big, forgotten hearts. And my friend’s hug will be the single-most important moment for me this year. I wish I would have told him that.

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