Train stations, airport terminals, subway stops: soulless spaces full of distracted, stressed zombies, or magical sets for fleeting, interlocking human stories?
I am a hopelessly entranced people-watcher, so anytime I’m in a mass transport setting, usually an airport, my mind fills with potential stories featuring all the people sitting, walking, running, laughing, sleeping, eating, crying.
I like to watch people meeting others as they deplane. I especially love it when I get to see a soldier meeting his loved ones. Those reunions always bring me to tears, and I wonder about where the soldier has been and what he has seen.
I’ve also wondered if people are watching me in the same way I watch them. Several years ago, when my mom was still physically able to fly, we flew her from Colorado to Pennsylvania for an extended visit. I had arranged ground transport for her so she wouldn’t have to walk from one point to another. It would be the last time we were able to bring her here. She would celebrate her 80th birthday with us, and she was showing her age in many ways. Waiting for her at the point that airport security would allow non-passengers, I wondered how the flight had affected her and if we’d really been wise to bring her up again, but she had wanted to come.
When the passenger cart arrived, she was the only one sitting there with the driver. Always short, no more than five feet tall, she had shrunk at least a couple of inches. Her hair was completely white, her face mapped with wrinkles that I hadn’t seen on our last visit. But she had the same smile, the same look of anticipation, the same bouncing sense of joy when she spotted us. The same laugh, the same hug, the same tears.
I don’t know what observers were thinking, but they sure could have made up a great story about that reunion. I miss my mom. She died a little over two years ago.
Our next reunion will be in heaven.