Going to the airport isn’t exactly exciting. While you may be excited about your destination point, whether you’re visiting family or escaping to a tropical paradise for a few weeks, waiting in the airport probably wasn’t on the top of the list of things you wanted to do that day.
Usually, when it comes to traveling I guess you could say that I’ve never raised my head up to check out the surroundings, usually because I’m too worried about catching my flight. But, this time, it was different. This time I noticed a lot more. Things I didn't expect to happen right in front of me, did.
You don’t walk into an airport expecting to see the lives of other unfold right before your eyes – either sadness from losing a family member or happiness from seeing a loved one after years of being alone.
On Jan. 6, 2016, I was leaving to go to Miami to visit my friend. So, I was super ecstatic, even though I had to wait a couple hours to catch my flight.
In those two hours of waiting, I saw things that I would have overlooked had I been rushing as usual. I had time to actually see everything, think it through, and realize what is going on in front of me.
As I sat there with my venti latte from Starbucks I watched people as they passed by, travelers were either tense or leisurely walking by as they headed to their destination. As I sat there I saw a woman sobbing into a guy’s wet chest as he comforted her. I only seen things like this in movies, and I wasn't used to this form or level of emotion at an airport.
As they passed she was holding a picture of a young man, possibly in his early twenties, in a military uniform. This image is still something I cannot get to leave my mind.
How is it possible that one building can hold so much joy and yet so much pain at the same time? Some were there to embark on the trip of a life time while others had face realization that their life was falling apart at the seams. All within this cement structure that sells customary t-shirts and postcards.
About 30 minutes passed, and my coffee cup was then empty, and the credits of Orange is the New Black were flashing on the screen in front of me. Then suddenly, I saw a hefty man running down the terminal, and as I looked to see what he was running from or to, I saw a woman in a military uniform with open arms waiting for him to leap into them.
I witnessed the man slowly start to weep as he realized that his wife had finally come home from Afghanistan. And yes, I know it was his wife because it was impossible to ignore his joyous voice uttering, “You are just as beautiful as the day I married you.”
It was truly one of the most touching moments I’ve ever witnessed. To watch this happen between two people who knowingly will never forget that moment gave me an amount of joy that I cannot express.
After that I looked at my phone and realized it was almost time to board, I couldn't help to look back on that measly two hours. The amount of lives I saw change and the amount of people rushing to get their vacation started was incredible, yet devastating.
It is truly remarkable how many memories are made within an airport. Between moments of sadness, gushes of happiness and everything in between.