Having been up since 5am, I’m gulping down a caprese panini, like devouring-it-in-two-whole-bites gulping. With a lengthy layover until the final leg to Boston, I plan on doing what I do best in Seattle’s airport: eating, tea-drinking, and people-noticing. Impressive is the dining area; shaped like an inverted glass egg, it offers the mood of being in a music hall. People sit in rocking chairs against the massive glass dome and watch planes land and take off. An approachable man plays a baby guitar and sings hawaiian-ish music. It seems oddly appropriate against the gray sky backdrop.
I stand to relocate to a small corner table in hopes to cozy up and write when there.he.is.
My dad’s clone. I stop.
A head of thick gray hair and glasses, and all of a sudden I’m crying. I resume the chair. Mesmerized. I’m absolutely mesmerized. I just want to be near him.
He sits alone at a large round table ten steps away. I observe a mother and daughter approach him for seats and he gestures kindly with has hand, something my dad would have done.
Even while I stare, I grab my computer and write. And cry. People probably think I’m initiating a break-up letter to an out-of-state boyfriend.
Isn’t it amazing how quickly people and emotions can bring us to tears? Two minutes ago I was laughing out loud while reading Mindy Kaling’s rant about men’s chest hair and why they shouldn’t shave it, and now I’m just a blubbery mess. Pretty sure if someone were to ask for one of the chairs at this table, they’d see my red nose and do an about-turn.
It’s taking everything in me not to walk over and give him a big hug. Never mind I’d get snot all over his dark suit. But what if for one second I can pretend it really is him? What if I can pull up a chair and tell him I’m going to see one of his “other daughters”, Karen. He’d say, Oh Karen. Give her a hug for me. I’d offer to get us green teas and people-watch together. What if.
People bustle, and walk past. I feel cemented to the chair. To sit and savor this moment, and notice a hint of a dear man who was so fully present in one minute, and then gone the next. It’s still not fair.
Funny, on the plane ride to Seattle, I’d thought about him. There’s something about being so out-of-control, flying among the clouds, that immediately brings to mind invaluable faces. Ty’s eyes flash. The innocent tears that slid down his cheeks when I kissed him goodbye. I thought of Bryan and the way we sleep snuggled right next to each other and the article I read as the plane jumped up and down in white fog. Couples who sleep close are closer. I smiled. I like that we sleep close. I thought of how Tanner had read aloud the night before, and his half-asleep eyes this morning. Other people crossed my thoughts, and then dad. I actually asked God, What’s dad doing? What’s going on in heaven this moment? I wish I knew. Is he talking with someone in a comfy cloud chair? Is he zooming the countryside in a silver porsche roadster, the top down, and U2 belting from the speakers?
It’s okay if I don’t know. There’s a beautiful mystery about heaven that reminds us we are so very small and our God is so very big and in charge.
For now, I’ll sit and watch. And know perhaps dad is at the Seattle airport, just steps from the table I sit.