The Majesty and the Misery

There have been some fabulous unforgettable moments that I have been lucky enough to enjoy over the last 6 weeks of pseudo-marital bliss. Moments that I found surprising, like the day we went to my lady’s friends house, and we, they and the kids played chickenfeet ‘til we couldn’t laugh or stay awake any longer, or the time we went flying kites and even my lady was surprised at how much fun it was keeping a 4 foot square piece of plastic in the air or the afternoon I stuffed myself silly eating a small mountain of frozen yoghurt with every topping imaginable cascading down its slopes with each spoonful.

There have been moments of such warmth the like of which I have never experienced before. Like introducing Roald Dahl to the skiddles, putting on silly voices as we read them “George’s Marvellous Medicine”, and “The Witches”, or watching the oldest skiddle have that moment of realisation when he finally saw, after 75 minutes of fighting with me, that if you carry that number down, long division really does work, or making my girl hold her chest with belly laughter, watching her tears stream down her beautiful cheeks as I tell her stories of what her evil cat did to me in the middle of the night. Or when I read the warm and touching comments from the lady whom I hope will soon be my mother-in-law.

There have been moments of total synchronicity too. Like when my girl and I told the 2J’s, at exactly the same time, that they could both wear dresses to the wedding if they really want to. Hearing the older boy moan his complaint for the next few minutes would have been great fun, but we were laughing so much at saying it at the same time that we couldn’t hear him. Or occasionally thinking and acting with perfect understanding, like suddenly singing to the same song on the radio, or ordering things without asking each other while out to dinner.

Every now and then, individually the skiddles would turn to us and say in a petulant and frustrated voice “I have the weirdest parents!”. Words which on its own would fill me with pride, being referred to as “parent”, but when said in reaction to us just being “in-love” made it all the more special.

Today was not a good day however, for so many reasons.

First and most obviously, the dream has ended. My six wonderful weeks are over and I had to say goodbye to the woman who has taken my heart. I know I will return and that I have to go home to organise myself and say a different set of goodbyes, but, stealing a line from a man much funnier than me, when you finally know who you want to spend the rest of your life with, you want that life to start right away.

I feel like I have been a balloon, and when I am near her I am blown up, stretching my heart to its fullest, but now she is not by my side. Now that I know I will not get to touch her hand or kiss her lips or smell her hair for so long, I feel like the balloon is empty, and the rubber has warped and gone wrinkly. I feel all wrong, out of shape and uncomfortable. I don’t feel like I will function right again until I am with her again. That’s all I am going to say about her. My feelings of loss are mine own, they are also unreasonable and in my more lucid moments I recognise that this has to happen. It doesn’t serve me to dwell on them, but it is useful to know that my mind was never where it should have been, and still isn’t.

This is probably why on my trip back from OKC to Heathrow I managed to get lost twice.

I can’t say very much about leaving Oklahoma, it was a little bit of a blur, I simply wasn’t thinking about it. I can tell you it was flat, but then most places look flat from above on high. I could tell you that the staff were polite, but I don’t remember a single word they said to me. I didn’t cry on that flight, I just went quiet, stoic and statuesque. It’s a form of shock I imagine.

I landed in Minnesota, the twin city, an hour or two later. I have never been to Minneapolis airport. Last time I came back via Cincinnati, I think, and the in flights were always through Atlanta, both of which seemed quite generic places, but Minnesota had some real character. If It were a real holiday I would have spent a few days there hiking through the woods looking for deer or bears to photograph.

Minneapolis, MN

Unlike the times previous however I got to leave the airport. Not out of choice, I should add. For some reason, as I left the flight from Oklahoma I felt I had to collect my luggage from the baggage claim place. After walking past security it dawned on me that they would probably just move my bags directly to the next plane, just like they have always done in the past. So I asked the very nice police lady with the very large hand gun who politely told me that I was right, I needed to check back in, but if I was trying to go back the way I came she would have to use the aforementioned device and floor me. After a swift retreat I found myself facing another security guard type person who told me I was allowed outside the airport for as long as my visa was good, if I didn’t mind missing the flight. With this newly garnished knowledge I ventured my first few steps into the metropolis of Minnesota, and with my second few steps I ventured back into the airport and to the safety of airport control.

A cup of coffee a dose of self-consternation later and I had resolved to pay more attention to what was going on around me and stop sonambulising myself through a coma.

Minnesota really was an interesting place to visit, and even though I was only there for a short amount of time, and only in its airport lounge, there was a sense of identity that you don’t see in other places. They were far more in touch with their spirit. Native Indian art and jewellery was everywhere, as were stuffed wolves and pictures of snow. Even cowboy hats and boots had their place, something you just don’t see in the much smaller OKC airport, but my real joy was taking off.

It’s not that big an airport having what appeared to be only one runway, but it was certainly nice to see the planes taxi in turn on the runways in such an orderly fashion, but the truth is that it was the clarity of the night lights that I enjoyed so much. The freeway lights causing regular areas of shadow and light reminded me of tiger snakes as far as the eye could see. Every block clearly defined and spaced out in such an organised grid pattern that would make mathematicians and town planners the world over turn pale with jealousy. The Vikings stadium and the baseball pitch next door so beautifully lit up. And The big river meandering through it all, with its brightly lit bridges creating focal points throughout the city.

I was stunned by its elegance, but as we flew higher and higher, the wispy clouds blurred most of the lights until they were like distant galaxies seen by the hubble telescope. This notion stayed in my head for the next 30 minutes as we drifted across the states passing small towns that looked in my wandering head like tiny constellations. A horse prancing, a bucket spilled, a field of mushrooms.

The hours dwindled, I flicked through some in flight movies, but even X-Men made me feel sad and Transformers got turned off within 5 minutes. I ended up watching Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and wondered when Matthew Mcconaughey will remove his misogynistic thumb out of his apparently sexy derriere and make a movie that doesnt involve him being an annoying playboy type to women who fawn over him all the time.

Eventually, we began to lose altitude and I looked out my window onto a bright and hot London. Its odd the things I never normally noticed before, that we dont appreciate. I looked down at a rich green patchwork of fields, not a straight line separating them. It was almost as if a five year old were told to draw them. And every field, road, house, garden and farm edged with the trees and bushes that so epitomise my country.

I watched as the landmarks of london came into view. The Thames Barrier, The Millenium Dome, The Ghurkin, The London Eye and Parliament. I watched Buck Palace pass underneath and for the first time perhaps I noticed just how many fields, greens, parks, play areas and commons it has. How you are never too far away from grass and always have a tree in view within a minute. I look in wonder at a very different sort of elegance. At a country that wasnt planned, but formed over centuries of struggle and debate, that was torn by class conflict, by unfair taxes, by crazy civil wars, by religious bickering and also by rain that cuts through our rolling hills and creates so many irrisistable natural boundaries.

And I realise that even on this, the saddest of all days when I say goodbye to the love of my life for a period of time too long to contemplate without invoking a panic attack, that my exhausted state allowed me to see things of elegance and beauty, things that describe the differences between our two countries so simply, things normally overlooked by me and many like me I am sure.

The world has a habit of throwing you curve-balls… and sometimes they are just the tonic you need to keep going a little longer.

~ by eggplantinspace on October 13, 2009.

One Response to “The Majesty and the Misery”

  1. One of my friends already told me about this place and I do not regret that I found this article.

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