My father and I drove to the airport this morning. We left the apartment at six in the morning, and spent three hours in the car together, talking quietly, slowly waking up, crawling through Los Angeles traffic to pull up the the drop-off curb. We both got out. He handed me the keys, and took his luggage out of the trunk, and I said my last good-bye in this long-haul across the country.
Immediately afterward, I got in the car, focused on what I had to do next. I had never driven in a city like Los Angeles before. Because of how I’ve gone about getting my driver’s license, I also had never driven alone for more than a quarter of a mile. Now, I had two hours of solitary driving ahead of me. I was excited for the sense of independence, mildly anxious at the idea of getting lost, and distracted by the vague haze of the early morning.
It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that I might have hugged him a little tighter, and that I wasn’t sure I had said I love you.
I don’t suppose that there is any way to say that last good-bye. It’s going to ache no matter how it arrives. It’s going to bite a little, too.
And it should.
If leaving home was not sad, it wouldn’t be leaving home, just walking away from some place.
My home was built out of the people who were there with me, and they built it well.
I owed you all a tighter hug than I gave, and a thousand I love yous.