Chasing the Sun.
On December 9th, 2009 I hopped back on a plane to fly across the world (for the 4th time this year) and for the first time in my life I spent 11 hours and 30 minutes on a plane; on one single plane. It was the longest December 9th of my life. It made my back, neck and butt ache but it gave me a lot of time to think and chew and mull on the million and three things that are constantly roaming around my head. And as we chased the sun for the better part of those 11 and a half hours I stared out the window I only half cared about the movie that was playing in front of me…I had more important things to do: I had time to just think. And so I did…
I thought about the lady in Munich airport that talked my ear off for the 40 minutes I had planned to silently people watch. She talked about Italy and California and how she was 45 years old and had never been married or had a boyfriend. I sat and listened and thought about how common it is for people to share such personal information with complete strangers. She gave me her number so that when I was back in Italy she could show me around Ischia and eat gelato on the beach. Then I thought about how uncommon it is for people to reach out to another for reasons that won’t benefit them in some way, and I appreciated that she chose to talk to me and share a part of her life with me, a person who before that moment didn’t even exist to her.
I thought about how much I hate leaving Eric. Even this time when I knew I would see him in just 2 weeks, in Indiana, getting ready to celebrate our first Christmas together. I thought about the phases of our relationship: strangers, email friends, phone conversation friends, best friends, traveling across the world to see each other friends, falling in love, breaking up, trying out the “friends” thing again…getting married. Married. I thought about how much comfort I take in just sitting on the couch with him, how I love the way the weight of his hand feels on my leg when we’re sitting next to each other, how sometimes I get choked up just thinking about him not being in my life. How I love him so much that sometimes I worry it is “too much.” But is that even possible?
I thought about the mix of excitement and love I felt at the thought of finally being able to hug my mom and dad, my brother, my grandparents and all of my beautiful friends. I looked forward to sitting around at my table just talking and laughing and going on about all the journeys that life has taken us on since we last saw each other. I thought about all the memories I have with all of them and how if I had nothing else in this life, my memories of the ones I love would keep me afloat; keep me alive. I thought about how I get to experience a family of new people that I adore and love, and am so grateful I get to call them my family.
I thought about how I wished I had a camera in my head; one connected to my eye that could capture the sights and feelings I have at any given moment. Ones that I could print out and put in an album so that I never forget just how beautiful it is to look down on the clouds through the window of a plane.
And as I looked out my little window, trimmed with ice crystals and cold, in the dark and quiet cabin of my plane, my bangs tickled my forehead…and I looked out over the wing of the plane and looked out over the same sunset I had been in awe of for the past 9 hours and I thought about how at that moment there was no place else I would rather be; looking out at a beautiful sunset with the promise of love and laughter and hugs from those I hadn’t seen in 2 months, the love of my life soon to follow and getting ready to celebrate the holidays with the people we love most.
And so I chased the sun with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart, and that 11 and half hours didn’t seem that long. It seemed just right.