Wheels on the ground jostle me out of The Paris Wife and Hemingway’s fictional world to the reality of recirculated air. It is both freeing and lonely to travel without the kids. Lunch is completely my choice, but there is no fun hunt for ice cream through the terminal hallways. We both smile when she stuffs my veggie guacamole so full the peppers fall out and her arms must force the sub shut.

I bask in the proximity of a large city. It inspires me to race into the terminal shuttle train like a seasoned commuter surrounded by skyscrapers. If I close my eyes, I am almost on the blue line (minus the unwelcome smells pushed up against my invaded space and the fear of bringing out a cell phone to be stolen). There is no impressive architecture in sight, but I am equally exhilarated by the sea of colors. It is not just brown but olive and black. The sky is a thick and seamless covering of clouds. I already miss the aqua blue that at least peaks out in some sunny form at a reassuring point in the horizon. Not here. But here there is the affirming Korean writing on the overhead screen directing travelers to destination points.

Delay gives me time to punch on an iPhone what normally would flutter over a keyboard. Being between destinations adds to the deep reservoir of time spent simply waiting. It also gives pause to the rush of life. Tarrying can feel wasteful, but it is often necessary.

Necessary, too, is the fun hunt for ice cream in honor of those little arms that last night wrapped themselves around me with the sweetest, “I’m gonna miss you tomorrow, Mommy!” It is worth losing a coveted corner seat by the gate. Off I go to indulge most likely on the floor once my seat is claimed by another not enjoying a tasty treat.

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