I am in the SeaTac Airport for a layover and by hour 3 it feels familiar. It feels like I belong here. I have breathed this air in and out, I have walked a few places more than once, I have favored a spot on the train. This isn’t my home, but it could be, I guess. If I had to make it mine.
It’s the same with life, I think. I have moved around in this skin – I’ve scraped it and stretched it and burned it. I have gotten familiar with my thinking patterns, learned what I tend to do and when. I have picked favorite sounds and smells and things to look at. There are places I miss when I leave them. I am squishing myself in among everybody else; I’m here and it feels like I belong here.
I’m at this airport for hours while some are here every day. I can’t tell you much. I can tell you it has an adorable shop that will not accommodate a stroller. I can tell you it has insufficient elevator service. I can tell you about the play area I walked by three times and the nursing room where I sanitized the baby’s hands the same number. I can tell you that the view in Terminal A is marvelous.
But I don’t really know this place.
While others have much more insight than I do, I can tell you a little about living, too: that there is a difference between shit coffee and the stuff you pay extra for. That you will never regret hugging your mother. That true freedom means knowing you are loved and the mark of it is when you love others well, not how little you care.
But I don’t really know this place either.
One of my favorite feelings is the one you have when you are standing in front of that giant lit up map and you’re searching with a furrowed brow for the red “You Are Here” sticker. I love being so genuinely curious and so utterly unsure. I love it because it reminds me of when I was a child and I knew I didn’t know a lot, but I had so much fun orienting myself.
Life is big – a lot bigger than an airport – and I am lost most of the time. But I’m carving out my home here. Even though I’ll leave it because we all leave it, because nobody keeps their space forever and the space we get is always handed down. But I make it home anyway. I love people fiercely and I buy clothes for a body which will end up as worm food and I take photos which will deteriorate and I pass on lessons to my children who won’t last forever either (the lessons or the children).
I settle in. Because what do you do when you have a 5 hour layover? You explore a little, you tend to immediate needs, you try to enjoy it.
That’s all I can do here, too.