Published: February 19th 2009February 19th 2009
Monday, December 29th, came as fast as I knew it would and it was soon time for Chelsea to return to Italy. I taught my morning classes, took Chelsea to North Dumpling of Four Sisters (don't laugh, it's a good restaurant) for her last Chinese meal, and we gathered her luggage to make the trek down to the Hong Kong airport. Her flight didn't leave until around 11pm. Since the trains in Shenzhen stop running at 11pm and going across the border takes time, we left very early so that I would have time to go with her. We arrived at the airport around 6pm. After a brief but vexing squabble at check in over luggage we decided to eat at Popeye's for dinner. We were both lured by the thought of biscuits, a starchy concept that has yet alluded both Italia and the Mainland. We ate and chatted and everything was normal. That is, until it was time to say goodbye at the terminal gate. I had it all planned in my head: "Thanks for coming to visit! I had so much fun. Have a safe trip back to Italy and I'll see you this summer." But what came out was this: . . . . .
NOTHING! I hugged her tightly and as I did the incoming tide of emotion nearly overwhelmed me. Gone were the words I had mentally rehearsed. Gone was any rational thought. My sister was leaving. I wouldn't see her for another six months. Another six months before I would see anyone. This was it. She was leaving and I couldn't stop it from happening. It felt like the end of the world. I broke away to look at her and could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. I didn't want to lose it in the airport. My fight or flight response kicked in. I hugged her again and ran away. Literally.
I managed to gain my composure long enough to find the bus back to the train station. Once I was on the bus I tried to remember what I had said to her before I left. It was only then that I realized I had silently fled. My eyes seeped tears of regret and remorse all the way back to Shenzhen. When I reached my humble dorm room I must have sobbed for a full five minutes. I was almost as bad as those wailing girls I see in the park from time to time. I then checked my email. There was already a message from Chelsea. It was short and to the point: 'You dork. I was fine until you started.' I snapped out of it.
And, this, folks, is what happens when you bid farewell to someone two days before your lady times begin. If at all possible, plan major departures when you're NOT PMSing! It'll save you a lot of heartache and embarrassment, especially after your sister tells your parents what you did and they ride you about it during your next phone call. Thanks, Chelsea.