Everyone has their ‘thing’ … whips, vegetarianism or CrossFit. Mine is well, a little more unconventionally twisted.
There is nothing sadder, yet more satisfying, than seeing couples kiss each other goodbye at an airport terminal. I feel as if I am an intruder into their scared moment, a moment belonging solely to the lovers. However I am entranced at every tear, the stifle of a giggle and each painfully nostalgic kiss.
I order my coffee half-heartedly, hushing the teller as she interrupts me with inconsequential questions. Forget your bottomless Monday special or the side biscuit for an extra R8, 50. I am vicariously enjoying our goodbye, and wish to do so in peace. I find a table closest to the couple, by this stage silent tears cascade down her cheeks, he rubs them with his finger and I smile. I am rudely interrupted by a family fighting over whether or not the husband remembered to pack the video camera charger. I move tables so my view is undisrupted. People can be so inconsiderate.
Perhaps he is off to work abroad, as this painful and delicious goodbye is not temporary. She is no older than 18 years old, slightly strange looking with dark eye makeup and an Avril Levinesque dress sense. He is a gangly 21 year old with a back pack and skater shoes. He has the remnants of a once pimply face and an Adams apple which bobs like a boat on the water, at the stifle of every cry. He whispers something into her un straightened hair. God, I need to get closer.
They kiss tenderly, like lovers who have etched each inch of each other’s bodies. I hear him mouth that it is time for him to board, and I wipe a tear from my cheek.
I scan the board of outbound flights. Where is he going? I feel a burning sensation to know. Perhaps London, to get a job as a barman and earn pounds. Why would he leave the one he loves? He must have booked his tickets before they met my subconscious snaps, defensive of her gangly darling. Those last moments are the best. He holds her face as they stare into each other’s eyes. The world has stopped for these lovers, and they share a intimate moment , one in which I am transported to the first time they made love in a seedy, rented, granny flat belonging to a family with a sausage dog. She gingerly pulls a small envelope out of her black pleather handbag, and hands it her love with a painfully etched smile on her face. He smiles in return as if to offer solace for her pain. “Only open it on the plane “she says. He smiles kindly at the woman he loves. He has always loved her surprises. I long to run over to the couple and snatch the envelope out of his long fingers. I manage to restrain myself.
He kisses her forehead once more and walks through the gates. Her soul falls to the pit of her stomach in unimaginable pain. I sit howling in the corner of Mug and Bean. She walks out of the sliding doors and just like that, my lovers are gone. Perhaps, their fervent kiss was also one of goodbye.
I breathe out fully for the first time in twenty minutes. Their goodbye has been emotionally taxing, and I really should stop coming to the airport on my Saturday’s. Perhaps I will take a R8.50 biscuit to go.