I had a while to think about it. A few hours.
Or three weeks.
Or twenty-six years.
I was trying to imagine a truly representative response to the return of my wife after her trip across the pond. I had begun trying to imagine just how I should run, walk or fling myself at her after being away for most of a month. I am not used to that kind of separation. Did I want to play it cool and let her walk to me? Should I go for the big welcome home movie kiss, or the warm embrace that had been missing for so long? I replayed these various scenarios over and over in my mind as I sat at my computer, idly checking email and news while tracking her flight's progress toward San Francisco Airport.
Not the airport she left from, back in June. SFO is the only airport from which I ever missed a flight. That was twenty-six years ago. Three weeks ago, she took off for Italy from the International Airport down the street: Oakland. That one's easy. I know that place by heart. I flew out of there recently myself, taking advantage of a summer vacation that allowed me to play gin rummy with my mummy. When I got home, I still had time to mull over just how I would handle that airport greeting. Over and over.
It was that flight that I missed twenty-six years ago that affirmed my notion that this might not be the worst place to move my life. A place where I could spend time with this woman all the time, with some common sense breaks for work and the occasional day trip. It was nearly twenty-five years ago since we made that obsession legal by getting married. Hugs and kisses are the currency of our relationship, and I confess that I am sometimes stingy when it comes to handing them out.
But not after three weeks.
Not after twenty-six years.
When I saw her coming out of the customs baggage claim, which I found with a little help from signage and a clue from my wife, I did rush to her. And the good news is that she rushed to me. And I don't remember exactly how it all went down because it turned out that seeing her was such a relief that I forgot all those careful moves I had planned. The moment simply unfolded. Which is exactly how it should be. It has been. Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans.