I admit, I noticed her coffee mug first. I don’t know why, it was a perfectly normal coffee mug. Perhaps it was the size of it (Good for water, I thought) or the way it slanted in the pouch of her backpack (Must be empty, I considered). These are the types of thoughts my mind created to keep me from tearing up. I didn’t want to think about leaving my crying preschooler again. I didn’t want to think about him sobbing and yelling, “I WANT TO GO WIFF YOU!” with his scratchy, sore throat in a fever fit. I didn’t want the Mommy Guilt to hijack my mind. “You are a shitty mother, a selfish mother, a fucking god-awful mother.” So instead, I looked at her coffee cup.
At some point I realized I was staring at her. The train whizzed through a tunnel and I saw my reflection. I was staring. I caught myself and looked up to see if she noticed. That’s when I saw her crying. She wiped her nose with a tissue and exhaled steadily. Her eyes were puffy. She made no eye-contact. She did not give any indication she knew I was watching her.
The girl across from me, though, did.
I caught her eye and smiled shyly. She nodded a small hello and we swayed with the train’s deceleration. I took a deep breath and walked toward the gate holding the plan to a trip I’ve waiting thirty years to take. Thirty years. Well beyond the moment I could imagine having a son bawling and clawing for me.
I had no idea how much that moment would hurt.
Just an hour or so earlier, I was dropped off by my family at Departures. My son is ill, most likely Strep, and isn’t feeling well. The thing he wants right now, more than anything in the world, is me. ME. The one person who is leaving for a week.
I let him get out of his car seat to give me a proper hug. He clung to me. He cried fat tears of anger and sadness. His nose ran until it landed on my shoulder. “I WANT TO GO WIFF YOU!! I WANT TO GO WIFF YOU!”
I looked up in desperation at my husband, my own tears stinging my eyes. I was helpless. “Maybe he can go to baggage drop off with me while you park? Maybe I can wait on this side if security isn’t horrible? Maybe I can call you in thirty minutes? Maybe..” I grasped at straws. “No,” he sighed, “It’s going to be the same whenever you go.” And like a bandaid, he took him from me, placed him in his car seat and started to pull away.
So it’s not that I was judging the lady with the tears on the train, or the man sipping a whisky at 10AM. In fact, to me, my world right now, I’ve been up since 4AM, it’s effectively late lunch time, my son just broke my heart and, although I’m not, I could really go for a single malt right about now.
Viva Las Amsterdam. It is time to board.
**update, Mr. Flinger bribed with some ice cream and they went to watch the trains together downtown. I’ve received confirmation that the boy is still alive and happy even though I am not physically there. THANK GOD. Now I’ll take that single malt.
Maybe this is old news to you because you talk to me daily, in real life, and I don’t go three point eight seconds without saying, “OHHMYGOD I AM GOING TO EUROPE IN $variableTime(‘9/28-currendDay()’);”
P.S. I actually speak in code.
But in case you don’t happen to talk to me daily in which I call or text you begging you to go boot shopping with me because A GIRL NEEDS BOOTS, then maybe this is actually news for you:
I am going to Holland tomorrow.
I’m a more experienced traveler this year. For example, I know that when I land in Holland, I’ll have to take a train to Leiden and that I can not expect everyone to speak English to confirm that YES THIS IS LEIDEN. GET OFF HERE. I have made plans to avoid the same train fiasco of last year and while he doesn’t know it yet, Kenney Meyers is going to be my flamboyant gay black man fill-in this year.
I know he’s good for it.
I’m a more experienced traveller in that I’m already loading up on Emergen-C and stocking vitamins and pain relievers. I’m already skipping sleep to help myself acclimate and I already know I’m going to speak with incoherent sentences for about 3 days completely sober. I already know I’m going to have an amazing time, that I’m going to re-kindle the love for my my job in a way only achievable through the energy of the communty’s enthusiasm.
I also already know there will be amazingly brilliant, fantastically addictive beer there that rivals the juice of gods.
And I already know I’ll tweet about it.
I’m then going to Munich following the conference. I have a gracious host (HI BETTY!) who so willingly offered her home to me. She has no idea, or maybe a little, of the magnitude this simple act impacts my life. I have longed to go to Germany since I was my daughter’s age. If you do the math, that’s more years than Lindsey Lohan was assigned days in jail for being a douche.
That’s a long time.
So here I am, on the even of my new adventure, slightly nervous (which train do I take to munich and how do you say I HAVE TO PEE in German because all I can ever think of is spanish “BANJO!”) But mostly I am excited, giddy, nearly able to puddle the floor like a hyper-active dog in sheer glee. With any luck, I’ll master the most useful phrase I could think of in German, “I am married and I am drunk.”
See? I learn.
Upon no recommendation what-so-ever, in fact, upon recommendation against, I went to friendorfollow.com. You know, it’s a twitter thing? You can see who is following you and who is not following you and you can subsequently drink heavily because your coolness factor just went down by a factor of four.
So imagine my horror when I find out Jesus doesn’t actually love me like the bible says. In fact, Jesus is sort of an arrogant asshole on twitter. I mean, I GET IT. If I have seventy billion people pining for my attention, I’d probably cut back on my following list, too. But to not even follow Mary The VIrgin Mother? Dude, that’s harsh.
At least he’s dead.
The Dalai Lama, though, what’s up with that? I’m sure running around spreading peace and harmony is a tough gig and all. But dude ain’t following anyone EITHER.
You know who is following me?
Barack Obama, baby.
That’s right! And he’s not even a follower whore. This is all legit and stuff. He’s following me as one of his tweeties. I just hope he doesn’t go to friendorfollow.com himself and find out I’m not following back. Who’s the asshole now? That’s right. :: two thumbs this way ::
*The new site is up and running on EE2.1. Slightly new redesign as well. Click over from your reader to see. Updates coming. Of course.
Yesterday closed out the last of the official White Shoe Wearing Season. I always hate to see that time of year go. Symbolically, I wore black sandals and froze my feet while wading in three inch puddles to various “summer” events. TAKE THAT SHOE GODS.
I’m not ready for fall, for football, for colourful trees. I’m not ready to for long nights and dreary days. But when I think about what I have to look forward to, I’m thankful the people in my life are still here going through each season with me. Each season makes our space more like home.
So with that tone, I say good-bye to a summer full of people we love, even if it was entirely too short, in a 4:58 video.
**Special thanks to Nintendo for the Flip and the fabulous Netflix party this summer. More about this coming soon. Who DOESN’T want to see the girls shake their booties. (Don’t answer that)
25 guests here now.