April 5th 2010: BA 67 London Heathrow (T5) – Philadelphia Int.
My children had gone on holiday with their Father. I had booked this flight back in January, the 4 months of waiting had seemed like an age but were finally over. This was not my first trip abroad by any stretch of the imagination but was my first time travelling alone and my first time to the USA. The reason for this trip; to finally meet in person the man I had fallen in love with.
People have often asked me if I was nervous, the answer is no. Excited, happy, impatient to be there, to finally be with him, but not nervous. It just felt so very right, he had always felt so very right. Of course I knew there were no guarantees, what if he didn’t like my scent, or he had bad breath, or we just didn’t fit physically? They were small niggles in the back of my brain, they were possible but I felt unlikely, and I was determined to enjoy finding out for sure if he was everything my heart was telling me he was.
August 11th 2015: BA 67 London Heathrow (T5) – Philadelphia Int.
This time I am not alone. He is sitting in the seat next to me and we are surrounded by my children. This is not our first trip back to Philly but like all the ones before it fills me with joy to be returning to the city that witnessed so many first for us.
As we pass out of baggage reclaim into the arrivals hall I turn to him and smile. He knows what that smile means and pulls me into his arms and kisses me. We are standing just a few feet from the spot where we shared our very first kiss. This is not the first time we have re-enacted that moment and I am sure it will not be the last. To me, this busy anonymous functional building is always about kissing.
When we step out into the throbbing summer heat of the city I feel such relief to be here again. It feels like coming home, the fact I have never actually lived here does not matter, this place is so familiar to me. It is the birth place of our life together. In this city we fucked for the first time, (about an hour after that first kiss) and it was here that he first put his collar round my neck. We have wandered this city holding hands, laughing and talking. We have stayed up late talking and fucking through the dark hours of the night. We found each other here in this place. Philly will always be that place to us.
The next three weeks of summer are filled with family holiday and there are moments when I wish with my whole heart it was just the two of us, so we can disappear into the city and just be two lovers again but even though that does not happen I am still happy to be here surrounded by those memories, sharing knowing glances with him, holding his hand as we walk those same streets again.
The departures hall at Philadelphia airport is probably the one place that I hate though. This building is always about tears, sadness, anxiety and gut wrenching grief at having to leave him behind and go home. Over the years we have slowly exorcised those ghosts because now when we come here the only thing we are saying goodbye to is our city, not each other but even so. I always cry when we leave. I just can’t help it. Philadelphia is not just a place to me, it is a feeling. It is love.