You cried by the departure gate
Waving through your tears
As I emplaned.
I wanted to wrap your smile
With the care of a yuletide present
Small and delicate
To fit snugly in my pocket.
I recall your frown,
The narrowing of your brows, your disapproval
The anxiety, the distressed tone of your voice
The multi-lane tributaries
Almost choking, leading us to the airport.
The journey was fraught;
But it was nothing compared to last night
As we talked.
You wanted stability; I had an opportunity
A life-enhancing experience with rewards
In a new continent.
I had to put our future on hold
You wanted the future now, in the present.
We quarrelled; you wouldn’t even let me
Brush aside the errant strand of hair
That kept falling across your face;
You slapped my hand away.
Seated by the window, airborne
I reached out into my left pocket;
There was no smile
Nor the loose, solitary tuft of hair
You gave me as a birthday present.
You asked for it back
As we waited below the overhead monitors.
The “now boarding” sign, the number of the gate
The stiff silence, the click of the heels
Cursory glances and looks; the intermittent tears.
The rather forced and contrived wave
The parting of the ways....