1.45 PM Fort McMurray
I’m sitting in a booth at the airport right now and the world outside is a void of white mist. I can count a couple of trees in the distance, a few airport thingamajigs, the bright spots of the lamps that line the restaurant reflected in the windows. My insides mirror the mist, I’m filled with too much – making individual things hard to decipher. My insides are a void.
Within that void, time is an illusion.
I’m 30 years and 11 months old, but within this mist I’m no older than 5. A terrified 5 year old with dirt on my face and soccer shoes on, one with the laces undone, desperate to get back home. There’s an obnoxious 14 year old pouting in the corner as well, having just fought with her parents about something completely insignificant. Next to her is a twenty-something woman, who is finally starting to accept the fact that her parents were right about a lot of things, after all.
Time is an illusion and I’m 1501 minutes away from home.
One rainy evening almost 14 years – or 122,640 hours – ago, I was crying on my bed in my green room back in Oskarshamn, frustrated with myself and the world, trying to understand all the things I was feeling, who I was, why I was alive. My father came and sat next to me on the bed, pulling me close. I had been pushing him and mom away for months, hiding in my room – but this time I told him that I was scared, that I wanted to try but was afraid to fail, that I couldn’t handle it. I can still hear his voice in my ear as if we never left my room, telling me that I should stretch my wings, try them out, fly wherever I wanted – and if they failed me, if I grew tired – I could always come back to him and my mother. They would always have the nest ready for me to rest and regroup in.
I’m flying home to that nest now, departing in 36 minutes.
4.53 PM Calgary
Sitting on the floor of the terminal, waiting for boarding to begin for what I’m imagining might be the longest flight I’ve ever been on, followed by a shorter flight that might take even longer – all I ask is that you go and hug those people. You know who I’m talking about. The carers, the lovers, the family, the friends. The irreplaceables.
We have all the time in the world to appreciate each other, and none at all – so go hug them. Tell them. Send smoke signals. Do what you have to do.
Time is an illusion. What lies within it is not.