Fading Lights

I just watched the lights of Los Angeles recede into the darkness behind my plane.

Today was, I think, the longest day of work I’ve ever had to endure. The universe seemingly refused to acknowledge the fact that I was leaving by making the time go more quickly. Everyone at work kept wishing me a safe trip, which was nice, but only made me think about it more, increasing the delay.

My wife and kids took me to the airport. When we got to the line where they couldn’t follow me any more, I hugged Luke and Dawn tight and kissed my wife hard. Dawn started to cry. She’s got some major pipes – she’s my daughter, after all – and I could hear her all the way through the airport, halfway to my gate, before Meghan finally got her outside. Dawn never whines or complains; she fights. She wasn’t sad to see me go, she was pissed off and trying to force me to stay. I love her so much.

Luke just looked on, too young yet to have the faintest clue what was going on. I’m not sure if that made it better or worse for me. I think I would have preferred him to cry, to hug me back harder, to not want me to go. He’s my little man. But at the same time, I’m glad Meg only had to drag one child kicking and screaming out of the airport.

My travel partner Ryan and I only had to wait at the gate for about thirty minutes before boarding. I’ve been lent a friend’s Rebel camera, so we futzed around with it for a bit, learning the settings and recording some footage. I think I’m going to try to put together a mini-doc about this trip and the reasons behind it.

Soon our number was called, and off we went.

I was doing fine. Even hearing Dawn calling after me didn’t faze me too badly. Then, we got on the plane, and it took off, and suddenly I was glued to the window, trying to watch the fading lights in the distance as long as I could. I thought I could tell about where Sunland was, but it was completely dark there – there where my family was.

But after the last light twinkled out behind us, suddenly I was caught up in the rush again. I’m going to New Zealand, my spiritual homeland. I’ll see people and places there I haven’t seen for a year and a half. I know I won’t be able to spare the slightest thought for home when I’m there, except when I call my family (as I had to promise up and down I would do). But during the days, I’ll be too busy reconnecting with the city, rediscovering all of my favorite things about Wellington.

I wonder if they still have Shakespeare in the park across from my hotel? Maybe I’ll steal up into the mountains and find the apartment where I lived for two weeks – if I think I can stay out of the landlady’s sight (due to the circumstances of my leaving, I left without giving her the month’s notice I’d agreed to in my contract, and without paying my last month besides). And I know I’ll have to revisit the spot near the Memorial where I met one of my best friends from the whole trip, Will.

I’ll be there soon, Welly. Not as in-depth as I wish, nor for as long, but I’ll be there.


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