The airport is empty at 1:30 in the morning. It’s strange, walking through O’hare in the middle of the night. I will my body forward; honestly, I just want to lie down. The short nap on the plane left me in a fog that exists somewhere between asleep and awake.
It takes a village to pick me up. Flight delays mucked up the original plan, so my brother-in-law will spend the night at our house. By the time I reach the van, I am so happy to see my husband I almost cry.
I try to chat on the way home, but I just want to close my eyes. To be honest, I am completely out of words. My three girlfriends and I managed to squeeze several weeks worth of conversation into a few days. On Saturday we got up at seven, started talking immediately, and continued to talk all day long while we hiked and ate and drank tea. Until 2 a.m.
At some point we decided we were a traveling mystery to those around us. “People keep asking me where I’m from,” my British friend remarked. “When I say ‘California’ they just look at me like I have two heads.”
“Yeah,” my Aussie friend nodded.
Later my other friend whispered, “I am the only Asian person in this restaurant.”
“Really?” I asked, looking around. “Is that weird?”
“Not really. Except people keep staring at me.” The rest of us hadn’t noticed. My Aussie and British friends were too busy trying to find a proper cup of tea. But she was right. People were staring.
We laughed until our sides hurt. We dove into the deep places of our souls with abandon, knowing our hearts would be completely safe in this company. We challenged and encouraged one another. We almost cried every time we remembered our Aussie friend’s upcoming move back to Australia. But this wasn’t the time for those tears.
I am grateful beyond words for these friends. Which is a good thing, since I have no words left. Really.