“I hate leaving,” I thought to myself as we drove over the light speckled concrete of the NJ Turnpike. I had forgotten how hard leaving is. The first time was the hardest when Martin ran after the car as I drove away. This time would be harder as Martin and I had become close friends and all was not quiet on the home front. We scrambled to get to my terminal on time, which left no time for long goodbyes. There were half-hearted smiles, hugs, and I love yous. No doubt, they would have charged me more to get on the plane had they weighed my heart.
The next week I heard about Lou’s biking accident – his experience of impending death were it not for the two men who ran in front of the truck to keep it from crushing my incapacitated brother. Lou calls those men angels.
Damn you, life. You crushed my brother’s foot. His hobby. His gift. Why can’t I be there? I don’t care if I can’t do anything. I just want to be there.
Is this what life is all about? Getting close to a certain group of people, loving them, only to experience pain all the more? Is it just about doing things you enjoy, turning a blind eye to the fact that at any moment it could all be gone? It will all be gone. The future always seems so far away.
At a meeting a few minutes after reading my mom’s email about Lou, I found a fellow teacher I could share with. Later I went over to the chapel and asked the chaplain to pray for me. I began crying. He invited in the entire office- a very Thai thing to do, no doubt – and they all prayed for me as I wept. Lou would live. My suffering paled in comparison to most. Still, those tears were the expression of a lot of built up love that has had a hard time expressing itself when times are good. A lot of built up love. I miss my family.