On Leaving Europe: Echo

*Clack, clack, clack.*

My sandals click-clacked on the tiled floor of the airport. The boarding window was closing and I was late.

As I ran past everyone on the moving walkways, heads turned. People stared and and asked questions with their eyes. Questions like,”Who is this girl?”and “Where is she going?”
I was aware but oblivious to all the of attention at the same time. I had a question too. My question was, “I have to leave but how soon will I return?”
I also had one last serious talk with Europe before I boarded that plane and left it behind yet again. I thought, as I raced through the airport to my gate-all eyes on me-, “I hope you remember me, Europe. Just as these sandals echo on the walls of this airport, I hope my presence here echoes on the walls of your heart.”
As soon as I boarded and tried to brush back my tears again with arms laden down with carry-ons, I switched to thinking and speaking in Spanish. I secretly didn’t want the flight attendants on my TAP Portugal flight to speak English to me. I also had hopes of sitting next to a Spanish speaker but that didn’t happen. I actually had two empty seats next to me and plenty of room to stretch out. There were plenty of shows and movies dubbed into Spanish to keep me company so I survived the lack of a seat mate just fine. It was a tad boring at times during my almost 9 hour flight.
Upon take-off, however, I was a bit of a wreck. The tears and emotions started building up in me the afternoon before when I said ‘hasta luego’ to three great friends. As I boarded one plane after the next and made my way farther and farther from the wonderful city of Sevilla and its people, I let the tears come. I didn’t have sunglasses to hide behind this past time but that was alright. Everyone on the bus out to my plane in Sevilla could tell that I was sad. That I didn’t want to leave. If they didn’t notice my tears, they certainly could infer my sadness from my body language. I let Europe see me bear it all, in hopes that it wouldn’t send me away on a jet plane again.
(This is what my suitcase looked like post-trip.) Have you ever seen so many tags on one bag?
In the end, it let me go but I had something to say before I left. It was not very romantic or flowery as I think back on it. It was simple and straight to the point. My intentions were clear.
“Hasta luego, Europa…Quiero tomarte por la mano y besarte. Quiero dar un paseo contigo y comer un helado, tu y yo. No quiero despedirte. Por favor, no me olvides. Por favor….”
I’ll let you translate my words if you’d like. They might seem silly but they were true. Thanks to experiencing more of Lisbon and other new parts of Spain, I feel like I can safely say that I miss Europe. I still have much to learn about that continent but it has dug itself a home deep within my heart and skin. I can’t get rid of it even if I tried. It’s just not going to happen.
Have you ever been so deeply affected by the environment around you that when the time came for you to leave it, it drove you to do something crazy? Something as crazy as almost wooing it with poetry?….

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