The memories that I have from Denver International from when Tay and I were doing our long distance relationship are intense, to say the least.
Seventeen years ago, for fifteen months. Three separate trips to Colorado, three weeks at a time, trips that were never long enough and are not lost to me.
Nor is it lost on me that we’re back here, seventeen years later, headed back to the place where we got married eight years ago, to celebrate our anniversary.
Some of my happiest moments as a young university student were in this airport. The anticipation sitting on the plane, waiting to deboard, seeing him when I walked through those gate doors, back when that was allowed. His young self, sometimes with flowers, always with a smile on his face.
And then, some of the saddest moments of that young girl’s life (because absence of a loved one was the biggest sadness she’d known then and still is, in some ways). Those too quick drives to the airport, locking myself in the bathroom the night before to cry in the bathtub and give myself migraines, how he’d escort me to my gate and I’d go into a bathroom and the entire time in there, I’d pray that he’d be gone when I came back out because those goodbyes killed me.
He never left. We said goodbye. And each time, I was convinced it’d be the last time I’d see him.
Seventeen years later. In this same airport. Parents of a beautiful, perfect girl. Crowded around a phone as we facetimed our good nights to her.
Seventeen years. Not the same people by far. But still so much the same because we’re here again.