Tell Laura I Love Her

departuresWe are at an airport in the south of France. This is where we must part ways for god knows how long. J’s plane is departing before mine, so I am standing in the hall, watching him go through security. I am not sure whether we came to the airport together, or that I decided to come here to be able to say goodbye one last time, to catch a glimpse of him before he leaves. As he walks over to get in line at security, I stay back. I decided to rearrange some of the things in my back pack, to get rid of the leaky airbed that was stuffed in there. It felt good to remove the ballast.

I yelled at J, who was now half way down the line, to come back and hug me, urging him to come kiss me goodbye, but he kept shuffling forward. He brushed off my cries by halfheartedly lifting a few fingers, a wry smile on his face that didn’t reach his eyes. He was wearing a football jersey, the red one with number 12 on the back, and the green trucker cap was on top of his curls.

I couldn’t place the pained look on his face, and in a split second I worried that he was thinking “Oh god, why did is she still here, doesn’t she understand by now that I don’t want her?” As I watched him disappear towards the gates with that tortured look on his face, my heart broke into a million pieces. I couldn’t watch this any longer. My messy back pack was still half-open on the block I had used to rearrange it, but I just left it for what it was and turned the corner. I sent him a text – Please come say goodbye… Another passenger came around the corner and gave me a puzzled look. “I’m keeping an eye on my luggage”, I said, as an explanation for why I kept peeking around the wall. But in fact, I couldn’t bare standing in the middle of that hall, waiting for him to show up, and risk being stood up. Would he come back for me?

Finally, I saw a figure in J’s outfit walk over to me. I was confused, because although he looked like him, it felt like he was my dad. I acted as if nothing was up though, because I figured, why would my dad pretend to be the man that I’m in love with? We both walked slowly at first, but ended up running towards each other. We hugged. He stammered, “Of course I’ll say goodbye, the reason I just couldn’t do it before, is because I like you most of all girls.”

By now we were both crying, and I responded, “Of course you do, babe, I knew it. I know how you feel and it’s okay.” He pressed my head to his chest. That confused me even more, because by now it felt even more like he was my dad. This person kept pretending to be J, however. He asked me when my connecting flight home was, and I didn’t remember well. It dawned on me that I might have remembered wrong, and that it was the next day instead of this day. I went to check on the tv-screens over our heads, but my eyesight was blurry. Nor could I read what my printed boarding pass said. To make matters more confusing, my print-out had other (train?) times on it as well, as if I had printed a time table instead of the actual boarding pass – so I had to guess which flight from the list I had booked. Not that it mattered, because it stll felt like I had -10 glasses on, and the letters were vague to me.

We asked a grumpy lady at the information desk about the schedule, and suddenly I noticed that my flight/train was about to depart that moment, and just as I was about to take a sprint to catch I, J-dad held me back and said “Why are you going to try and catch it? It’s not like you want to run away from me like this, do you? Besides, the plane will be gone when you reach the gate, so why don’t we just stay here and get a hotel room?” By this point I was starting to freak out, because I knew for certain he was my dad – he didn’t realize I knew though – but why would my dad suggest such a thing to his daughter?

I went back to the middle of the large square hall to check the overhead screens for trains. I had to get home in time, because I had work the next day. Right that second, I got a text from J. Out of nowhere, because no matter what I had sent, he hadn’t responded in 2 months. He asked me “Did you get on your connecting train alright? They rebooked everyone because of the accident at Mont St-Exupery (or something that looked like the name of the author of Le Petit Prince).” I looked up at my dad, and asked if he was impersonating J. In a reflex, he answered “Yes.” He was caught off guard by his own answer and tried to correct himself. “Dad, stop. I know it’s you. Why are you doing this?” I felt a mixture of light anger, confusion, compassion. Like, why would he think he can fool me into believing that he is J, just by wearing his clothes, and why would he want to? I knew in my heart the whole time that it was my dad, but the message from J made it click; the real J wouldn’t send me that if he were standing next to me.

My dad fessed up; and although I didn’t actually see this part in my dream – I woke up before the images crystallized – the message was very clear. Dad had met J after the security check, where J asked my dad to do this for him, to say goodbye to me in his place, because he couldn’t bare to do it himself. It was too hard for him to see me cry over him, to see me so incredibly sad. J asked my dad to say all those things to me, to make sure I got on my flight safely, and that it killed him to leave me behind like this. He wanted me to know he loved me, even though he couldn’t deliver the message himself. But my dad saw me sad, and wanted to give me as much of J as he thought he could. He stayed longer than he was supposed to, and took the charade a bit further, stayed longer to comfort me.

 The message was beautiful,  but he couldn’t fool me :)

From the night of 23 to 24 November

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