I wrote this quite a few years back (maybe 16 years ago, maybe a little more) and never really got around to getting it to where I wanted it. As I was working on some things tonight I came across it again and thought that maybe I’d pass it along.
Just so you know… I wrote the original part of this on the plane and gave it to the girl after I collected my luggage. When I got home I sat down at my desk and did my best to reconstruct the letter. I think it is pretty close to what I originally wrote, but I can’t be certain of that fact. And, since that time I have often wondered if she ever read it, or if it helped her at all. I hope it did. And, if it did not… well, I know it helped me. And, maybe, just maybe, for some of you… it might help, as well.
So, here it is, in it’s raw form.
To The Crying Young Girl Who Made Me Think,
I do not know your name. And, you do not know mine. But, you were standing in line in front of me at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport while we were boarding Flight #1633, from St. Louis to Houston. You were crying. You were crying hard. And, I wasn’t trying to be rude… but, I was watching.
It had been an odd weekend for me. It is almost heartbreaking how a few short days can turn out to be such a long hard weekend. But, that is what happens when hopeful expectations of a possible new love comes-and-goes at the hand of bad timing and careless consideration. It had been me that had made a mess of things, and I was feeling low about my trip and my station. Honestly, I was just sad… just very, very sad… about Love, about Life, about Fate… and even more… about the person that I sometimes turn out to be.
But, as I watched you cry the thoughts of my own state of affairs calmly dissipated and were lost. It is hard to think of yourself when you see real life being played out in front of you.
“What could possibly make someone cry that much, that hard, and so openly and so honestly?” I thought to myself.
As we made our way down the terminal you continued to cry, but it got better as we went. Halfway down the tunnel and your giants sobs faded into soft whimpers. And, by the time we reached the door to the plane, well, you were hardly crying at all.
But, still I wanted to know. Actually, I had to know. I leaned forward, tapped you on the shoulder and asked, “Is everything okay?” I may have made a mistake because you turned to me, and with new tears forming in your eyes, said with much effort, “It’s just so hard… so hard leaving him.” You didn’t have to say more… I understood. But, you went on to tell me that it hurt you to leave someone that you love so much, even though you know it is for the right reasons. You told me about the education you were getting in Houston, and how it had pulled you away from the place where you really wanted to be. You told me about how you never thought that it would have been this hard, but that it just all caught you by surprise in the end. I understood that too.
As we entered the plane, and made our way to our seats, you explained that it just ripped your heart out to leave someone who you consider to be the best part of your life. I didn’t tell you, but I knew what you were talking about. Most people know about it. They do. It’s just that sometimes we forget that knowing about something, and actually having to live through something, are not the same thing, not even close to the same thing at all.
As luck would have it you were seated in the row in front of me. A few moments passed and I watched as you stared out the window. The plane took off and you never turned your eyes. Perhaps you were hoping to catch one last glimpse of him before you left. Maybe you were thinking that one of those pairs of headlights on the roads outside the airport were shining from where he was. Or, maybe you were thinking about all the time that will go by in-between the time now… and the time that you two are together again. I don’t know. All I can do is guess. But, if I had to guess… I thought that it was probably a little bit of all the above. I don’t know exactly what you were thinking about… but, I do know that it was about him.
It is true what they say, you know. It is. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. It does.
And, even though that is true… here is the part that people don’t tell you. That while absence might make the heart grow fonder… it is comforting knowledge of familiar arms that makes love grow stronger. That love is best made when there are hands to hold, lips to be touched and souls to be tied together at the ends.
But, life… and love… are never that easy. Never. Life is a constant changing thing. There are no rules. It happens on its own accord.
And, while I might not have it all figured out, just yet… here is what I think I almost know…
Some day soon you will be back to normal everyday living. It will be school, and work, friends, family, hobbies, and interest that you don’t even know that you have. It will be traffic jams, and parking tickets, and useless hours spent in a library were everyone thinks they are right, but for all the wrong reasons. That will be your life. That is how life turns out to be for so many people. It is. I promise.
But, that doesn’t mean that what you are going through right now doesn’t matter. Because… well, it does.
We would never know how good it feels to love someone so much that we cry when we see them again if we didn’t know how much it hurts us to see them leave, or to watch as we walk away. We wouldn’t know how Happy It Can Be if we didn’t know How Sad It Often Is. Life, and love, are not connect-the-dots situations. Ever.
You cried. And, you made me think. Thank you for that. It is not often that I am reminded that I am not the most important person in the world. I oftentimes find myself so involved in my own things that I forget that I am not alone on this planet. But, every once in a while, someone like you will come along and remind me that there is so much more going on around me, and that if I am not careful, I might just miss it all.
You probably won’t even remember me. But, I will always remember you. And, I hope that I always remember that love, real love, is standing in a crowded airport… crying… and wanting more.
Your Friendly Senator