Flight Away to Home

Choose a place that is significant to you and explain why.

Doors open, then close. Signs in bright colors pop out at every corner. Floors begin to move on their own accord. People bump into one another, pushing and shoving, making a turbulence of their own. A light flashes, a buzzer dings, an engine roars and like that, everything changes.

My first memory of walking through the sliding doors of the San Antonio International Airport comes from when I was 7 years old. It was Halloween night and I seemed to be in the only place on Earth not handing out candy. How could my parents do this to me? Couldn’t they have postponed this trip to Kansas City at least a couple of hours? As I stood in line to get to the terminals, angrily pondering the amount of Twix I could’ve eaten by then, a man approached me.

“Walk towards me son,” he said.

Thinking that maybe this man would hand out candy, I passed through what looked like a doorframe. Suddenly, a green light started flashing and a buzzer dinged. Adrenaline, not fear, filled my body. Was this a game? Had I just won some prize? The man ran what seemed to me a magic beeping wand over my body and determined that not only was everything in order but I was deserving of no candy either.

I bent down to re-tie my shoes and looked up to see more people than I had ever seen in my life. They ran this way and that, big boards changed numbers and colors constantly, voices spoke from the heavens announcing gate and time changes. To a kid coming from the suburbs, this was more action than I could have dreamed of. I was enamored. I ran to the gate with my parents excited to be a part of all this hustle and bustle. I was right in the thick of the process, a part of something. By the time I arrived in Kansas City, I had forgotten that I had missed Halloween.

Ten years later, I walked through the same doors feeling different emotions. My mother was moving to Minnesota, and I drove her to the airport to see her off. I got out of the car, got her bags, gave her a hug and watched her go through the same doors I had gone through years ago. I couldn’t enter into that wondrous world with her. Instead of giving me excitement and joy, the airport now took it away.

The doors closed and I was left alone. The airport was no longer the opening of a new story but instead a closing. There would be no games, no buzzing, no flashing. It was the stout harshness of reality. I couldn’t follow her through the doors into the TSA line and onto the plane. I had to learn how to live as an adult.

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