Saying goodbye never gets any easier.
I have had a few goodbyes in my time and I can tell you from experience that trains are the worst way to part. 30 seconds is all you have. 30 seconds on their clock before the doors jingle and close in your face. Barrier. Done. Then you have to watch out the window as the carriage pulls away, leaving some on the platform and some sailing forward, the distance ever growing. Faster. Faster. Blurry. Gone.
A train goodbye is a brutal goodbye.
Airports. Well at least there is space for coffee, a brunch, an emotionally fraught lunch. A drawn out goodbye as you drip sporadic salty tears into your whetherspoons baked beans and your 9am pint of Theakstons Best. In the end you are left to say goodbye by the security gate. Only a mild sense of urgency. No 30 second slam. No slow roll through the countryside.
The security gate is where I said goodbye to my family in February, with a mass of uncertainty ahead of me in the frozen tundra of my new country. At the end of that day I had to move into a new, empty house to live what seemed then to be a new empty life. Of course it wasn’t half as bad as I thought it would be, but how was I to know. There is never much positivity in uncertainty.
There is no countdown at the security gate, unless you’ve left it super super late. There is time to hug and cry and take a “jolly” tissue from your mum. The fact that little zoo animals adorning her Kleenex makes her happy only makes you sob even harder. But there is time. A bit, anyway. Then, once you have made it through the point of no return, security procedures will stamp the tears right out of you. For a little while at least. Nobody ever sobbed whilst being shouted at to take off their shoes and belts. The mismatching sock walk of shame is enough to keep the mind occupied.
Tasks. Scanning. Things. Must keep track of the things. Be a good adult. Don’t lose the stuff. Don’t lose your cool.
Then there is the whole gate location and departure lounge fandango. That keeps you in business for a bit. Have you ever cried emotional tears of separation woe during a takeoff?! I haven’t. I’m too afraid I’m going to die a la Final Destination. Thanks for that, Hollywood. After that, you’re in the sky and the good people of Air Transat are giving you a thimball of wine. Fine. Just stay alive. Thank you tiny wine.
I have, however, done my fair share of sobbing on the train. The small talk as you wait those safety 7 minutes, the panic 45 seconds as you watch the train approach and realize that you should have just been hugging this whole time because you don’t actually know when there will be a next time. No tears mum, please. You’ll set me off.
Trains. You brutal, efficient bitches. Fast enough for a speedy getaway but slow enough for regret and the faint possibility of turning back. I could turn back. Maybe I should turn back? But I never do.
I’ll see you next year.