It’s hard to say goodbye if you won’t leave

The title of this post comes from an episode of Frasier where a promising relationship between Frasier and a woman called Kate is cut short because she’s moving to another city. He comes to the airport to say goodbye but her flight keeps getting delayed but they don’t mind, at first, because it gives them time to talk and eventually, sadly, discover they are not compatible. She eventually leaves on a different flight and they finally say goodbye.

While we didn’t have anyone at the airport waiting around for us to leave (not least because airport security nowadays don’t let people who don’t have a boarding pass through to the gate), we had plenty of memories and emotions gouging into us as we waited for our 6:22pm flight to Chicago.

After getting through security and additional screening we arrived at our gate with plenty of time to spare. Once settled I received a phone call from the airline saying the flight had been delayed 40 minutes, until 7pm. A little annoying but time enough to continue writing blog posts and sending them out.

But then came another announcement. Due to the thunderstorms in Chicago, the plane was late getting out. It was on its way but our departure time was now pushed even further to 8:30pm. Glen and I looked at each other. We needn’t have been so hasty to get to the airport, for sure, but we also were gripped with a fear that our flight would in fact be outright cancelled and we’d have to return to Toronto and try again the next day. Neither of us liked the prospect of repeating goodbyes. Perhaps we could just stay at a hotel nearby and not tell anyone (except Glen would put it on Facebook before the announcement had even finished).

We waited, at times thinking fondly and sadly about leaving Toronto. We got hungry so we went and had chicken salad at one of the airport restaurants and talked over how apprehensions about being at home and what was required of us when we got there. Where were we going to buy a bed? Could we get a dishwasher without ripping up the kitchen? Should we go out on Saturday night? The siren’s call of life in Perth had already begun, which inspired no end of guilty feelings.

We returned to the gate. The flight was delayed further but at least the plane had arrived. We would be boarding at 9pm. When the time came, we were one of the first to get on and in fact, we had them very first row. We were offered a drink, I hadn’t bourbon and ginger ale. I continued to read my book. Eventually, we were boarded and the plane started to taxi.

Glen and I held hands and looked out the window at the darkening night sky. I wanted to see as much of Toronto as I could on our last flight out as residents. Tears came easily as we said goodbye to what had been an amazing two years and to a life that was so rich and rewarding. It was a death. As taxiing continued Glen started to flick through a few months of photos on his phone, showing scenes from a great many things in a small space of time, some I’d even forgotten about.

Then the plane waited, making plane waiting noises, and then, it made different noises. Shutting down noises. Then an announcment. We had missed our window of departure and would have to wait on the tarmac for 40 minutes. Groans rippled down the plane. I shot up and ran to the loo at the back of the plane, desperate to pee. Once back in my seat, I continued to read. Glen played Candy Crush. Our poignant farewell had been lost. Now we were just wanting to be gone, to rip the bandaid off completely rather than having it slowly pull each individual hair.

The plane started up again 40 minutes later and we took off. Toronto had been completely shrouded in night by then. Our eyes were drier. We were on our way to Chicago.

The flight was only an hour or so long. We landed in a wet Chicago, collected our luggage and, being appalled at having to pay $5 to use the luggage trolley, we lumbered out to the taxi rank with our six pieces of luggage, looking a little like insane backpackers.

We joined the taxi queue, eventually getting everything into one taxi. The drive was a little hair raising as the driver zoomed through the Chicago rain to get to our hotel. Dave and Antony had booked us two nights at the Fairmont Millennium Park so we had somewhere really nice to stay (otherwise we would have just stayed near the airport). We arrived around midnight and checked into a suite that was larger than our apartment at home. It wasn’t long before we were in bed and asleep, the first leg of our week-long journey home.


To ease the transition
My little packhorse

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