#49: The Longest Day

Black and white. Escaped 'Welcome Back' balloon against drop ceiling fluorescent light.
Fort-Lauderdale, FL

I am sitting here in Terminal 4 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport on a bench which, after I finish writing this letter, will be my bed for the night. Tomorrow morning I fly home to New York.

It’s been the longest day. I made a new friend at the airport, a twenty-six-year-old from Arizona who’d been working a landscaping job in town for the past three months. He’s flying home tomorrow, too, and also spent last night at the airport in lieu of paying for a hotel. We bought day passes for the county bus and went to the beach, to the historic downtown, to the riverwalk, and while at these places and while waiting to go to these places we talked about China (he taught English there for a year), Peru (he was there not long ago, too), and the Appalachian Trail, which he’d hiked by himself in 2011, having never gone camping before in his life (he called his uncle from Walmart and asked what he should pack and his uncle laughed at him.) After three and a half months in South America, six months walking the mountains no longer seems as unthinkable …

My first novel turned one year old this month. I have a few things planned to celebrate the occasion, but they will have to wait until next week because it’s been the longest day, and I’m almost home.