Gate 79

Airports always strike me as such an interesting microcosm of society. Nowhere else is the full spectrum of human emotion on display in such a public forum. Tears, anger, indifference, joy, excitement, frustration. Yet each traveller is encased in their own little bubble, distanced from everyone else. They’re already on their journey, regardless of whether the plane has left.

Usually I consider myself a pretty impassive observer but today I was a part of it: emotional rollercoaster and public spectacle. The gravity of moving overseas hit me with its full force, turning a relatively seasoned (cynical) traveller into a snivelling wreck. Words came out garbled, shoulders heaved, every fibre of my body turned its focus to making a biblical torrent of snot. As undignified as it was, it proved productive. Nothing makes males more uncomfortable than overt displays of female emotion; I flew through security and immigration.

Disappointing though, I had rehearsed what I was going to say: something uplifting and self-assured, something to inspire confidence in the young woman embarking on a new life adventure. Instead it went something like: “Mmmmfffmmmm going… to miss you mmmrrmmmm come visit.” None of the goodbyes went exactly the way I wanted them to. Eloquence under pressure is not my strong point. What I should have done was write some letters. The written word doesn’t betray me like my emotions and sinuses apparently do.

Here it is then, a letter to those failed by my feeble, awkward goodbyes.

Thank you for being the friend everyone dreams of having. You’ve made me brave enough to try something new and humble enough to realise what I’m leaving behind. Keep in touch, come and visit, and I’ll miss you more than you know.

Love, Bridget.

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