I shed the anxiety induced by delay as I exited the plane and entered the high-ceilinged terminal. The claustrophobic dread evaporated like sweat weeding the garden under a hot sun. Visits with mother always linger, but the transition from ground to flight to ground, shifting time-zones, aids with transition; the birth parallel—a journey through a small confined and restrictive place, emerging into a new world—is not lost on me.
My steps are quick, as I try to escape my fellow passengers, get on with my regular life. I never check a bag. Everything I need for travel I carry in my backpack. If I can’t fit something under the seat in front of me on the plane, I don’t need it. I head up the escalator up to the walkway, preferring the freedom to taking the train and entering yet another enclosed mode of transportation, another tube, another claustrophobic birth.
Focus on steps, long strides to pick up speed without giving the appearance I’m in a hurry. I make my way through the crowds of passengers-to-be that exit the security gate to embark on their journey even as I end my own.
I don’t mean to stare, but my eyes lock on a couple holding hands. Both men, but I tell my self that doesn’t matter. One is older, perhaps my age. The other, young enough to be my son. Parent and son? While I am comfortable embracing, even kissing, my son hello or goodbye, we do not hold hands in public. I force myself to look down, trying not to consider that this is a man my age willing to publicly proclaim his relationship with a young lover. Gender isn’t the issue. What catches me, causes me to reflect, is the thought of holding hands with someone half my age, and I’m embarrassed to know her name.