9.45pm LA time.
This is it. I’m on the plane and contemplating my second-last flight for this holiday.
This is my flight back to Australia.
I’m feeling quite heartbroken. I don’t want the magic to end.
I don’t want to go home.
I don’t want to go back to routine, to getting up for work, to teaching classes and grading essays and attending staff meetings.
That all seems so far away. So long ago.
But how do I tell my husband that? He’s sitting right beside me and I know he has seen the tears but he hasn’t asked or said anything.
He’s keen to get home. He’s had enough of travelling for now.
Something within me has changed over these past four weeks. I can’t define what it is that has changed, but I do know I have left a few large chunks of my heart behind.
Before we set out I knew that I would love Canada – I already did – but I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the USA.
I can say quite confidently now that while my love for Canada is stronger than ever, I do love the USA, and definitely want to visit again. Almost every place we visited captured my imagination and my heart in some way.
I might skip Chicago next time, though.
Today we are on our way again. We. Are heading for Charleston, West Virginia.
I’ve just left behind a very close friend who was one of the main motivators for the US part of my trip. In the years that I have known her, we have helped each other through physical pain, illness, grief, insult and having to deal with idiots on a regular basis.
Spending this weekend together was wonderful. We talked, laughed, cried, hugged, shared meals, drank coffee, indulged in treats and gave each other keepsakes which, like the memories, will remain precious for the rest of our lives.
Her parents and brother have welcomed me with generosity and love. They have been so generous and sweet, and I know I am now a member of their family.
It was incredibly difficult to say goodbye this morning.
I know one thing: I am definitely coming back, and we are going to spend much more time together.
Then I might kidnap her (is it even possible to kidnap the willing?) and take her back to Australia with me.
I don’t want to leave you.
It’s too soon. I want more.
I don’t care about cold, or snow, or wintery pictures.
I’m not done loving you yet.
I promise you, I am coming back.
This is not goodbye. This is “see you later, eh!”
Wait for me.