frankfurt goodbyes

Driving through Germany – early morning – en route to Frankfurt Flughafen for my flight to the USA! I’m surprisingly calm. Was für ein Uberraschung! Was für ein Geschank! Ich dachte, dass ich nervös fühlen wurden. Aber nein! Ich fuhle sehr glucklich und wir machen Spaß!
I spent the morning writing my journal entry in German, then scrolled back to October – in Florence – when I wrote the entries in faltering Italian. Diaries with training wheels. 
Every time I fly to the states I’m reminded of Anais Nin arriving in NYC as a child on a ship – holding a little bamboo cage with a grasshopper in it & a journal probably bigger than she was at the time. Her first drawings of the entire state building. Hopes & dreams between the pages. 
I fly out just past noon. I can fly all around Europe no problem – it’s just that damn ocean between me and my family in the USA that gets me. I’d much rather empty it little by little with buckets and place the creatures in wine glasses and bath tubs and public fountains to allow the continents to float closer together. How many bucketfuls? 
Planes are part bird and part fish; their industrial scales glinting in the sunlight, their trajectories across the firmament orchestrated by one mind in a control tower, a psychic impulse and all the planes flex the same muscle at the same moment to avoid one another.
I love the engine’s roar when speeding along the runway. Like now on the Autobahn – driving 100 mph but still being caught in the tailwind of dark Mercedes blurring past at 130. I like speed and white noise. 
My memoir takes place here – between Mainz, Wiesbaden, Frankfurt, Heidelberg & Kaiserslautern. For five years this was the cradle of my life; my fertile and nourishing crescent along the Rhine. 
Last time I flew out from Frankfurt my partner Albert tied his scarf around my neck and put home- cooked banana/ Nutella crepes in my bag for the flight. This time Sean, my new husband (!!) will load my carry-on with goodies and reassurances ans snacks. 
Ooh! Only 17 minutes from the airport! I’m so thankful the sun is shining! 

In the past two months I’ve traveled from Oxford to Puglia to Rome to Florence to the Alps to Austria to Copenhagen – and now DC, then Boston, and back around to Frankfurt mid-December, then a road trip back to Florence. My goodness. But it’s so worth it to see my family and especially my baby in school at Northeastern! She’s just getting out of crutches after surgery. 
Oh! There’s Frankfurt on the horizon. Time to be brave!! 
Wish me luck! 
I’ve had my panic pill and a coffee – not much logic to it but there you go. I’ll score some mini alcohol bottles too, though I think wine will flow free, this being an int’l flight and all. I’m much more accustomed to taking free military flights on cargo planes with fuselages as long as football fields and stacked with cargo. On cargo planes we would all unstrap ourselves from the rigging along the shell of the plane, then roll out sleeping bags and try to sleep. The plane would quickly come to resemble a children’s sleepover. 
Every so often the crew would pass boxed meals around and our sleepiver would turn into a marketplace – a candy bar for a juice, a roast beef sandwich for a cheese sandwich. “hey, anyone got fruit?!” Boxes whirled over our heads with this noisy frenzied swapping, then we’d all settle back down into our warm communal bed before stopping over in Alaska for an unknown period of time while the crew waited for parts to fix the plane. 
A nonstop flight from Frankfurt to WA is much more straightforward! 
Lufthansa, here I come. My Dad and youngest daughter will be in the air next to me, in another plane that’s just an hour ahead. We’ll flap like crazy to catch up. My heart will flap and do flips to get there as soon as possible back with my loved ones. 

Poor Sean will drive back to Florence, drop off the rental car, take a train to Pisa, then a bus to the airport, a bus from Gatwick airport to Oxford, then a bus home. There are too many wheels and wings involved in all of this. And too much missing one person or another. I think I will place everyone I love in one room and never let them leave. 
Well that’s what a heart is, I guess. They’re all locked up in there forever. 

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