I met him at the airport while crying for you
Series: The Journey of a deployment: Perspective of the one that stays awaiting. (English)
I could hardly hear his voice; “excuse me, excuse me”, trying to call my attention. I was walking to the terminal but my mind was in another place, at the moment when we hugged good-bye at the New Rivers Base and my heart was completely filled not just with sadness but with fear. The inevitable questions and prayers; will he be a casualty-oh God please guard him with Your power. Will his final hours be titled “friendly fire, so sorry for that”-Lord hold him in Your loving arms and bring him back safe; I prayed.
Walking through Charlotte’s Airport in order to catch my connection to Boston was like a journey itself that gave my mind enough space to start visualizing my life with him at a distance and at these new circumstances, especially for me.
“Excuse me, mira, excuse me”, I heard this insisting voice so I turned around to the brightest smile I had ever seen. I looked at him puzzled and he asked me; “puedo hablar contigo”, in a heavy American accent. He took me by surprise, a total stranger but I agreed to talk to him, while questioning myself in my fast mind, where I was able to find one-hundred excuses to give myself permission to talk to him; we are in a public place, I’m not walking with him to anywhere, we are surrounded by hundreds of people, there are surveillance cameras, state and federal security guards on call, gosh, stop it, I thought very deep inside while trying to smile at this crew member of the airline that I bought services from. Why do I have to worry so much, I was asking myself when my eyes landed on his identification, with his photo and I was able to read his name, not that this finding will allow me to trust him.
Can we walk to the wall? I asked him because now we were jamming the corridor, and while on that I tried to swipe off my tears still running down my cheeks. “Como te llamas?” he was the first to venture. I new he was not Hispanic, and I smiled and I said, Coqueta. He continued asking me, “hablas espanol”, I responded with a “si”, while looking into his eyes, trying to comprehend why he wanted to talk to me among hundreds. Si hablo espanol, mi nombre es Coqueta y porque me detienes para hablar entre tanta gente,..._ Kevin? (Trans.-I can talk in Spanish, my name is Coqueta and why did you stop me to talk among so many people)
“Wow, take it easy, slower”, Kevin pleaded while laughing out loud. I was smiling and trying to understand the scenario I placed myself in. “Can you understand English? Because my Spanish still in progress” he asked me and I nodded. “Can you have a conversation in English, and understand me?” he continued his interrogation, and now I was the one laughing. Kevin; is that your name, I asked him and he said yes. I extended my hand and said hola, nice to meet you, and yes I can understand you in English, or Spanish, or Italian, or Portuguese, or French, which language would you like to use. “Nice to meet you Coqueta, yes I’m Kevin and … can we use English for now?” he told me while laughing, again.
Still trying to understand the “situation” and with a smile on my face I was waiting for him to say something, but on the other hand, he was just looking into my eyes, smiling and quiet. So I asked him, why are you stopping me? “Ah, uhm…__ I was walking this direction and you passed by me and I have been observing for a while the way you walk.” And? I asked. “Well the truth is that I have never seen a woman walking with the confidence you do and I said to myself, I have to talk to her.” Kevin was saying all this while keeping his smile on his face. I was not buying his proposal but I still had plenty of time before my flight.
Well, I’m a Hispanic woman, and we don’t walk, we model, I said to him while laughing trying to break the tension that I was starting to feel or well, not tension but awkwardness. “Sure I saw that”, he started to engage more relaxed. No, really, tell me more, why you decided to talk to me, I insisted in order to “kill time” before my journey back home.
“You walk very fast but with an elegance, like you said, modeling, with a very unique style, with grace, it was a joy watching you walking and everyone noticed that and I really wanted to get to say at least hi.” He was explaining. “So, are you from Charlotte?” was his question and I responded that I was there for a connection flight. He asked me where I was flying to and if I was visiting family or friends.
I was visiting family and friends here in North Carolina and now its time to go back home. “Any special occasion for your visit?” he continued the conversation. Actually yes, a very special occasion where I have to say “till soon” to a very special family member, to a friend and to a significant one. “Military family?” he asked me. Yes was my answer and I knew my eyes were not capable of hiding my sadness. Kevin’s smile turned from a “Don Juan Conquistador” type of smile into a sweet and kind one.
Without moving his eyes from mine during the entire conversation that lasted for about thirty minutes Kevin turned around when another crew member touched him to let him now it was time to go. Kevin acknowledges the other crew member and turned back to me and asked me if we could exchange cell phone numbers; I agreed.
“It sure was a pleasure to meet you Coqueta”, while spontaneously he kissed me on my right cheek and left me there standing by the wall. It felt like we knew each other for a long time, like it was not the first time we were together, or talking, wired. When I saw Kevin walking away it was like I got back in reality, I noticed all people, the airport itself, people that were looking at us, the walking, the rush, the sound of the speakers, and ‘bang’, your memory back in my head. When my smile was about to fade away, Kevin walked back to me and asked me questions, kind of out of context. “Bonita, he called me for the first time, do you like coffee?” Uh…yea, I responded kind of confused. How you like your coffee? Regular, little bit of cream and one “blue sugar” envelop, I told him. Got it, he said and walked away while I walked the opposite direction to the restroom thinking ‘what the heck was that all about’.
First class, first row, window seat, didn’t want to be bothered and I covered my face with my USMC’s sweater still smelling like you. I was so tired, I closed my eyes. I just wanted to be home. It was my wish to rest all the sadness, stress and tension during this flight.
I felt a soft touch on my left shoulder while I struggled waking up, I was kind of confused. Who the hell is bothering me, I thought to myself while I was trying to be completely awake. It better be that it’s my time to either put on a parachute or to put on the floating device because otherwise it was unacceptable to interrupt me in the middle of my sleep in a first class flight, oh hell no.
When I separated my head from the window and tried to composed myself to see what the heck the passenger next to me wanted, oh my gosh, I opened my eyes so wide, my heart raced and I couldn’t believe my eyes, am I still sleeping, I asked myself. I was not able to open my mouth; the passenger next to me was Kevin with a cup of coffee that smelled like heaven, his smile and those eyes trying to connect with my soul…
Sunday, April 5, 2009
I met him at the airport while crying for you