Endings and Beginnings

In 45 minutes to an hour, I will be heading back to the airport and flying back home to New England and my Paul. Somehow it didn’t occur to me until this morning that perhaps Friday the 13th is a potentially foolish day to be flying . . . My parents say maybe the airplane will be emptier, though. That would be nice. Then no one has to worry about anyone’s garlic. For example. Of something that would be helped by an empty aircraft. Paul had suggested I wear a mask over my nose and mouth so everyone would think I was contagious and give me a wide berth. But maybe that won’t be necessary.

It occurred to me briefly when I arrived here that my single life has been characterised greatly by international travel, and that this would be my last international trip ever as a single person. On Sunday evening, my parents and I were watching episodes of Downton Abbey (which, of course, has already aired in its entirety over here) and the second season of Sherlock. We had already eaten supper, and were discussing the merits and demerits of making an enormous bowl of popcorn. “It’s our last Sunday night with Jenn in Ireland,” Dad suggested.

“It’s your last Sunday night with me as a single person,” I said. Because when they fly Stateside in March for my wedding, they will not be there the Sunday before it, and the Sunday after it, I will be married. And not home. That week (after my wedding) will be my first international trip as a married person, but it will be a little different because we will be driving to it instead of flying to our destination.

We made the popcorn.

I have also eaten two varieties of full Irish breakfasts (well–a full Irish and an Ulster fry), lots of leftover Christmas cookies, a few small mince pies in case I never get back to these Islands at Christmastime, some German fruit-bread (stollen), and drunk a pint of something at this amazing Hogwarts-meets-Steampunk old pub in Belfast. Oh, and the regular three meals a day. This might be my last international trip as a thin person, too. I mean the first part. I definitely weigh more now than I did when I left. I wonder if they will charge me for excess baggage . . .

Wow. I so wasn’t intending to talk about weight.

I think, when I realised that this trip sort of marks the End of an Era, I thought I’d feel wistful and that this week would be a time of processing for me–processing the end of singleness, the finality of the end of all previous relationships (on either side of the Pond), forsaking all other, stuff like that. I didn’t think my love for Paul or resolve to join my life with his would be shaken–I think I just thought this week would have involved a lot more introspection (and maybe not quite so much eating).

As it’s happened, though, I haven’t felt all that wistful, and though I’ve considered the things I’m saying goodbye to, I’ve . . . realised it’s time, I guess. Any change involves loss and grief, but it can also involve gain and joy, and maybe I’m readier than I thought I was when I left the country a week ago. I have no idea where the next few years will take us, but I’m pretty happy when I consider that I’ll have a travel companion from now on–this specific travel companion–even if we end up staying right where we are.

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