Flowering cacti

On the car ride to the airport yesterday, I thought of how you had made this same trip- your last alive in the US.  Your cab came late- you must have been worried- probably texting the band/crew from the back seat of your cab. 

At the airport, I thought of you too...what a good traveler you were.  You and I had routines when we traveled- taking turns going to the restroom while the other one watched the luggage...you would go and get us something to eat and a coffee to share. 

On the airplane, I thought about how this is probably the 2nd time I've flown without you in eleven years.  The only other time being for a "girls' weekend" in Michigan about five years ago. 

I listen as the stewardess performs the usual safety routine- "Locate your nearest emergency exit row."  I think about how I would always do this as a precaution and you would roll your eyes, disdaining all of the fear in me.  Was I wrong to be fearful?  Was I wrong Dan? 

I disregard the safety information completely today- for you- Dan.  And also because I realize everything is completely out of my control- at least all of the big things.  I control the very small- choosing a snack to bring, what book I might read on the plane- whether or not to recline my seat.  Small. 

My mother flips through the "Skymall" magazine...you know, that in flight magazine with all the strange gadgets.  You used to like to look through there and what you would do- you would draw little bubbles from the people and write funny quotes- guessing what they might be saying.  This would annoy me but they were...funny.  I wonder now who the next passenger was who might have flipped through your magazine- the lucky recipients of your humor. 

I play with one of Audrey's travel toys- writing over and over again on the magnetic screen, "Sah rang hae yo" in Korean characters as we take off.  I love you.

I was tired, but didn't sleep.  I was up until about 3:30 am the night before packing and wrapping presents. 

I've been looking forward to this trip thinking it'd be such a nice distraction for the grief.  Arizona- cacti, desert, red earth- so different from the Northeast and the little bedroom where I do most of my grief work. 

But no, we arrive amidst the flowering cacti, and I find- everything is the same.  I've taken it all with me.  The grief, sorrow, and sadness.