From a certain angle, you could frame the picture as if we were dining together. But we were sitting at separate tables. Dining alone at the Dallas International Airport, waiting for our next flight, for the giant, flying bus to drop off its passengers so we can take our seats and continue our journey through life.
She has a life outside of this moment, and so do all the people who pass by, flowing eastward or westward, towards gates C23 and above, or C21 and below. These airports are small metropolis’, cities in their own right, ports. Air Ports. I believe that I understand the meaning now, because this is not a place to settle down with your family, and this is not where your child will grow up, assume a moral standpoint, become a man, or woman. Instad this is the place where your child will spill his Shake Shack smoothie all over his t-shirt, and because your belongings are being journeyed across the world separately, you will have to rush him into the bathroom with the little white man on it, sit him on the sink, and desperately try to return the shirt to some form of normalcy. Except it won’t return, but you still try, and he still cries because in all of this displacement, the gravity of that shake made him feel centered, as if he had arrived, somewhere.
I don’t know if this counts as a visit to Texas. I sure would like to mark it down as one of the places that I’ve visited, and maybe I can say that I’ve made my way through all 50 states when I am old and wrinkly. But being here this brief, maybe an hour, and eating an Airport taco, I am not sure that would really count as visited Texas. But what really does count? I have been in Gulfport for upwards of a year now, and I can barely name 10 streets, 10 restaurants, 10 famous writers. I am just kidding, I grew up in New York and I couldn’t name those things, but one day I would like to.
What is it like to truly know a place? Maybe its to recognize when something about it changes. Did you see that new store that opened up in Harlem on 137th and Lenox? The Starbucks? Yeah, it took the place of Mr. Albert’s old corner dry cleaners. Now there are people here who weren’t here not that long ago, but they live here now.
I am regretting those tacos that I bought from Papadillos at the airport. Late meals are hardly ever satisfying. Come to think of it, is anything late ever good? Late text messages, late phone calls, late responses… Ok, that’s a different thing. But here I am, and I don’t even want to respond to anything. I want to walk this entire airport, and maybe live in this in-between thing I have going on. The feeling that I have arrived, but I will not stay, but that it’s not permanent. Part of the existential crisis I face is that I have this feeling regularly even when I am not travelling. I am not really home in Gulfport, but I am not not-home. In fact, it seems so impermanent precisely because it is, and that’s the truth about all of these places I frequent. Maybe one day I will be settled, even if its some sort of rotational settling, like how the Earth and Sun agreed to stay close, even though they’re not entirely together. They’ll revolve around each other, doing their little dance, until the sun, like all stars do, dies, or absorbs the Earth. The continuity of the Earth will necessarily be independent of our own. Even if we “destroy” it, we won’t really destroy it, we will simply make it uninhabitable.
What’s the difference? I am still here, but I am uninhabitable because of past hurts. I am just kiidding. I have a penchant for the dramatic when I express myself, and sometimes I wonder what will people think if they read this a few years from now. Will they take it all as truth? The Truth! I hope not, because I cannot describe a harder thing to define than the truth. It’s like grabbing water from a river and saying this is the truth, and then pointing to where you grabbed it from… an area that’s already filled with more “truth” and then you pour it back, and it’s part of the river again, but if you try to grab it once more, it will be another version of the truth. Never the same. Somehow this is unsettling to people.
I want to argue that there is no such thing as truth, but people say that the truth is worth dying for. The unexamined life is not worth living, ie, the life worth living is that in which we seek the truth. But who can find it?