I was developing a very strong love/hate relationship with airports. I loved the rush of knowing I was going to see Cayden again when he landed at DFW or when I landed at Heathrow. I hated the interrogation at the immigration desk. I loved the way the gates at the international terminals in both airports felt like a red carpet. I hated the waiting. I loved watching other couples reunite on the red carpet. I hated that it made me cry. I loved saying hello. And I fucking hated saying goodbye.
"What are the chances we'll make it through this goodbye without a tear out of you?" Cayden asked as we walked toward the terminal entrance with his bags on our shoulders. I swallowed the lump in my throat and blinked away the sting of tears that started before I had my car in park.
"Slim to none," I answered. "But let's give it a shot."
I readjusted his bag on my shoulder and smiled up at him. I could do this.
Dinner the night before with my family was almost perfect. The only thing missing was Abuela. I caught Abuelo looking at her empty chair on more than one occasion. My heart broke for him.
"Do I have to leave?" Cayden asked after we checked his bag and headed toward security.
"You don't have to do anything you don't want to do," I said with smirk. "Although our governments would disagree."
He pulled me in for a hug and I took deep breaths to keep the lump in my throat at bay.
"Two and a half months," I whispered into his ear.
"Two and a half months," he said back, without breaking the hug. "In two and a half months we'll be celebrating our birthdays together. We'll be watching Shanna walk down the aisle together. We'll be curled up under your duvet having a lie in."
I pushed away from him, laughing. His weird, British way of saying things always cracked me up.
"I know I say this every trip, but I think this was my best trip here," he said. It was true. He did say that after every trip. But every time, I agreed with him. "It just feels like home, and I don't want to leave it."
"Hey, I thought we weren't going to get all mushy," I said, looking up at him. "If you want to make sure I don't cry, then just give me a high five, slap me on the ass and say, 'Check ya later, lady!' as you walk away."
He put his hand up for a high five and I had to stand on my tippy toes to reach it.
"I'll call you from Chicago."
"And then I'll email you when I land in London."
I felt strange. My eyes didn't sting. My throat wasn't tightening. People weren't staring at us thinking, Dramatic much? I was still on a high of having such a great week with him. I was even smiling.
"Keep yourself busy until I come back," he said.
"Oh, you know I will."
It was true. I planned on entertaining myself with kickball and surgery. The tonsillectomy would entertain me for about three weeks (and by 'entertain' I mean 'keep me curled up on the couch in a slightly unconscious state thanks to heavy doses of painkillers'). I planned on getting an IUD, too, because I couldn't remember to take my birth control pill to save my life. I was surprised we didn't already have a little Cuban-Pakinstani baby running around saying, "Mummy, Mummy, yall need to lock it up."
We hugged one more time, but we made it quick. Then he bent down and kissed me. Soft and sweet at first, and then he stuck his tongue out and made it jokingly grotesque to make me laugh.
It worked. I walked away with a smile on my face. I turned back once to wave at him while he took a place in the line for security. He waved back.
I didn't cry.
I realized I had nothing to cry about. The man of my dreams, my better half, the person who most completed me was alive and healthy and happy. That's all I could ask for. Sure, he was about to be 5,000 miles away, but I'd see him again. I'd still be able to talk to him on the phone every morning while I got ready for work. I'd still be able to look forward to his good morning and goodnight emails. I'd still get to fall asleep and wake up next to him one day.
I'd save my tears for Abuelo.