With my stress-making gear gone, I’m a man of leisure.
I sit down with my mother, father, and sister Pip, to enjoy a leisurely, relaxing airport lunch.
Well, almost. A few days earlier, I had realised that my rear light didn’t work as advertised. When I stopped, it stopped. The light was a small thing, but I was worried about being mown down in a busy foreign city. Plus, then I’d find out if my not-so-expensive travel insurance actually worked, or not.
The bike shop in Melbourne sent an urgent replacement light on Sunday. But it is now Wednesday and I haven’t received it yet. I phone NZ Post and discover that the courier has tried to deliver the light twice, to who-knows-where. My sister will pick it up from the depot on her way home. But as my plane leaves in several hours, I’ll have to make do with the faulty unit.
Chance also has it that my recent-ex-flatmate Hamish is sitting a couple of seats away, with an old friend. Both are keen surfers, and about to fly to Indonesia to catch some big waves. For Hamish, it’s a well deserved break before settling down to the serious business of child-raising.
I say Hi, in the way that you greet someone who you used to see everyday. We’d shared an amazing house and the extreme highs and lows of everyday life. And now each of the flatmates had gone their separate ways, to do something awesome. It was an amiable breakup, yet it’s strange to see him now, in his new role as a passing acquaintance.
Inevitably it comes time to board the plane.
My sister gives me a big, teary hug, and says some strange words that she’s never said before. Mum and Dad come over to the departure gate, and I cry as I bid them farewell. My parents are getting old and I wondered if they will be still be around, when, and if, I come home.
And then I’m through the gate and we’re off.