Meanwhile, back on travel…
It is no secret that I love airports. I do not bother to hide the fact that I believe they are a snapshot of the values, the culture, the mechanics of one moment in time for a people and a place. The world changes so fast; airports can’t possibly keep up. That’s what’s so beautiful: their mere existence is nostalgia.
As I mentioned, Dileep had dropped me off at Dulles. At night.
Dulles is a place I love; it was the razorsharp hallmark of my Washington days. It was the place from which I came and went; the serrated cavern where my Aunt and Uncle retrieved me that day over a decade ago when I first came to Washington. I had arrived with only a suitcase, and my stuffed monkey — probably looking much the same as I had as a tiny girl when I left the East Coast for California, except now I was a grown woman who wasn’t ever permanently heading back the opposite direction.
I was flying to London again. When I checked in, I obviously had the look of a frequent traveller (I have a theory on this, but that’s another post for another time). The counter agent told me to “go to the lounge.” Where is the lounge? I usually fly from JFK. Oh.
I cleared security, then sat in the lounge waiting for my flight, issuing apologies for my distressed messages the night before; from the dinner where I’d had too much to drink.
We still like you anyway.
I slept fitfully through the flight to wake up as we were coming into Heathrow; to watch the sunrise.
(I watch a lot of sunrises. I see them because I am a runner — I watch the great shiny orb rising out of trees or water or a gnarled mass of highways surrounding the start line. I see them because I am a frequent traveller, and I wake-up in the early morning hours in places exotic and mundane.
I am not a morning person, that’s for certain — that too, is another post for another time. But the past year or two has given me new appreciation for sunrise.)
Back into Central London; a day of little to do for once. I went for a run in Hyde Park later in the afternoon, as the sun was setting.
One thing we’d talked about at the top of Mount Whitney was that all of the junk we carried around didn’t need to be there when the sun rose. But I saw so many sunrises, and was still carrying around so much junk! I was working through the idea of failure, but hadn’t quite resolved the idea of fault. Maybe the sun should set on blame.
What do you want?
I wanted to wake up on my sixtieth birthday and have someone look at me and say: Darling you’re just as beautiful today as you were on your twenty-fifth birthday that rainy day in Paris.
That’s not going to happen.
I was nostalgic for something that had never existed, something that was now never going to exist. Sort of like how airports romanticised things; points in time that had never necessarily been indigenous to the places in which they were located; perhaps had never really existed in the first place. How could I keep blaming myself for not holding up my end of a bargain that hadn’t ever been agreed upon?
I left Hyde Park; went to shower off the sweat and airport. Blaming myself for my non-failure continued to make less sense.