Christmas Day 2001 (un-abridged)

Why those things God, that change a perfectly OK day into one that just brings up stuff you thought you were kind of over? One tiny video clip of the view out of a plane window, crossing a coast – not even the same country and you’re sitting there will all those mixed feelings and an overwhelming sadness for what was.

You know you can’t share it, because there’d be no point, because people do not understand unless they have been in similar shoes. I had chosen to forget – or I had forgotten what it was like.

That Christmas day was a horrible ugly blur, that when looking back has been captured and plastered in your mind in a series of very rememberable slow motion scenes.

The stark memory of the day before you left. Sitting there looking across. Wanting, willing it to go away, wanting them to talk to you and knowing they wouldn’t know what to say. Just staring, thinking about everything and anything.

The night before – crying in the perfected art of silence.

The last touch and looking back out the window at your stupid lovely dogs.

The Christmas lunch, with the mock cheer, the bad chicken stuffing, the good American food.

Standing behind that computer… that last opportunity, wondering if to, and how to say goodbye, and thank you.

Walking down the MAF steps for the last time, remembering that they used to be crooked.

The drive to the airport, that felt so long and so short all at once.
The mountains on Guadacanal.
The Lunga river bridge.

The wait at the airport, the many photos, the hugs, the clinging that you tried to stand back from.

That awful moment when you couldn’t any longer hold back from crying… you held out longer than any one else.

Walking out the door and looking back one last time, trying desperately to capture their faces, picking out the few who meant so much.

That flight that you cannot remember except for the blurred crossing of the caost. The green and the blue. Saying good-bye to your home one last time, knowing that every little thing from there on would be so very different.

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