The low-flying plane gave us panoramic view of the city we grew up in. Downtown, our high school, our old neighborhood. Something about being in cities like Nairobi, Brussels, Chicago, that makes the announcement, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome of Fort Wayne,” a bit underwhelming. But we sigh the sigh of total familiarity and gratitude, because it’s always there for you, your hometown.
Off the plane and through the terminal, and there they are. The ones who spent Christmas without us. And wrapped up in the reunion, the exhaustion of travel evaporates into clouds of celebration. The potential for time together sates our souls, and we know we have no goodbyes to say for a while. I’d love to go into deeper descriptions of the airport, my pleasant drive through the city in my car, and the rest of the afternoon, but those clouds are beginning to condensate again. It’s been a long trip, it’s been an emotional decathlon, and I’m toast.
But even as I’m trying to secure a bootleg signal in my mom’s living room to post these last two stories, I’m thinking about the Buj. It’s still there. It’s still going to wake up in a few hours even though we’re across the ocean. And our friends are going to keep spending themselves on behalf of it. It seems wrong to hope that you’re missed. But I do. Maybe because I just hope my own lament is reciprocated. Maybe it’s pure narcissism. But it’s sad to imagine Buja without me in it.
But that will have to be the dull ache in my spirit for the next few days. Because the hours of goodbye are over for a while. I’ve got a big week of hellos ahead. Off to bed. Goodnight.