I have a thing about airports. It's a kind of love hate relationship. I have spent far too many hours in the discomfort of airport terminals. They may look different, but they differ little worldwide. Never comfortable. Impersonal. A meeting place at best. A place to stretch. Destination emotional rollercoaster.
Farewells, reunions - it matters not. I cry watching strangers in their heartfelt embraces, their awkward good-byes, their joyful hellos. In need of some emotional theatre? Head to the airport. And that's just with me! And I'm even worse when it's about me and the people I love. I have cried (well sobbed uncontrollably would be more accurate) on any number of occasions, and believe me - It generally ain't pretty.
It's Thursday night in Geelong. It's cold and it's raining. My brother and his girfriend are due to return from 6 months absence. I have missed them. We have been in contact, but it is never quite the same as being able to see them in person and I am happy to be the meet and greet delegate.
Avalon Airport is an ugly destination. Neither Geelong nor Melbourne wish to claim it as their own. It's arrivals hall is a mere cubicle, a bunker of grey cement surrounded by cyclone fencing and stale portable toilets. It contains little more than a few understaffed car hire counters, a luggage carousel and a half a dozen sticky plastic chairs. The sliding doors in the far corner of the windowless fortress, refuse to open to people on the inside, intended only to allow the travelllers a grey welcome. Duelling stringed instruments may well be playing over the intercom, if one could hear it throught the static. A flickering flourescent tube completes the b grade movie atmosphere...
To my relief, the plane is (virtually) on time and the waiting is minimal. It is not long before I see their tanned smiling faces., and the grey surrounds fade as the sliding doors open.
There are no tears. Just smiles and warm embraces. Welcome hugs.
Welcome back. It's good to have you home.