I was at the airport the other day to pick up my grandma. Like most people, I love watching people at airports.
That night, there was a really pretty girl waiting at the end of the concourse. She was beautiful in an understated and undramatic way. She wore her clothes with a comfortable easy grace, and her hair was done in that style that looks like she didn’t do anything to it, but probably really involved lots of time ― a studied informality.
She was hanging around with us where people come out from their flight, but unlike the rest of us she wasn’t staring expectantly down the concourse. In fact, she seemed so distracted, so disinterested, that I began to wonder if she was waiting for someone or killing time before she went through security.
Then her cell phone rang.
To say that someone’s face “lights up” is something of a tired metaphor, but in this case it seems to apply. Her face lit up as she had her brief conversation, and after she hung up her entire attention was focused down the hallway of offloading passengers. She seemed to be willing the face she was looking for to come into view.
And then she saw him.
He was a tall, gangly, funny-looking guy who, except for those characteristics, looked nothing like me. He wore tired, casual clothes and carried a big hiking backpack with a lot of miles on it. I’m pretty sure he had a Nalgene bottle hanging off somewhere. He also had a flower wrapped in cellophane in his hand, which he held out to her with a funny little smile as she dashed into his arms.
They kissed each other, not in that desperate-passionate-get-a-room sort of way, but in the I’m-so-happy-to-see-you-I-want-to-be-as-close-as-I-can-to-you sort of way. They were still smiling as they let go. She tried to take his bag, but all he wanted was another hug. Her flower kept getting in the way, but they didn’t care.
He was at least 6’6” and she couldn’t have been taller than 5’4”. But somehow they fit together.
He didn’t have any checked luggage, so they walked out of the airport hand-in-hand, still hugging each other.
I imagined his impatience as he sat, diligently following the airport rules not to use his cell phone until the door had opened. I imagined his walk up the concourse, wondering where she would be waiting for him.
I saw her joy when she got the call, and saw her impatience as she waited for him to come into view.
I’m not really sure why I felt compelled to write this, but that moment seemed like something that deserved to be remembered.
Coffee-in-hand: None. But I was leaning against the Boston Stoker kiosk as I watched the scene unfold.