Leaving

6:30 #

One final time I look around my room, barely lit by a grey January morning beginning to emerge from the night. I scan over the bookshelf, my desk, my closet, the floor, and everything. I’m partly nostalgic, partly just making sure I don’t forget any of my shit (again).

Leaving home after the annual winter return is always a bit difficult. There’s so much history here. So much memory. In the uncertainty and challenge of life as a newbie techie in NYC, coming home to my past–preserved in the plaques, pictures, and paraphernalia–it can be as comforting as my favorite easy chair and a blanket.

But each year it grows more distant, and the glow it casts dims. Some of that nostalgic sheen wears away. (It’s a good thing–I’m far too sentimental.) Friendships change, and the old rhythms of winter homecoming become a little less frequent and a little less exciting. Memory making happens less often than just remembering.

7:15 #

So as I lift my suitcase into the trunk, heavy with evidence of my family’s Christmas time generosity, the mild sadness that attends these departures begins to fade rapidly.

7:30 #

The trip to the airport is comforting in its predictability. My father begins some kind of lecture that crescendos until we hit the SF Bay Bridge. Tempers are heated, and I’m not able to say a whole lot. (I think when it comes to goodbyes and early mornings, my pops needs a good tirade more than his French Roast.) My unfailingly loving but now increasingly frustrated mother is in the back seat, watching for cars as my dad liberally interprets the lanes of the highway. She looks nervously at the clock , but for this family we’re actually shockingly ahead of schedule.

7:50 #

By the time we hit the airport exit the conversation has come full circle. We talk fondly of the visit, what’s next, and joke about nothing in particular. Humor returns (it always does), as does concern for minutia (“You have to update the luggage tag, this isn’t even our our address anymore?. Hand me a business card, I’ll take care of this now…”)

We’re ready to say goodbye.

I hug them both.

I already miss them a bit.

After I drop my bag with the sky cap and head into the security line, the raw logistical crap of the next 30 minutes replaces most emotion until I come to my gate. Peet’s in hand, I’m back to solo travel, and an adventure ahead. I’m bound for Seattle to discover if it could be my next home.

 
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