Perfectly Unnatural

Flight 1448 from New York to Italy would leave without one passenger. That one passenger was you. It was supposed to be the third and final flight you would board that day, but you had missed your connecting flight. Everything had gone as planned until you sat down in the impersonal gray airport chair drinking your overpriced orange juice. All day you had been thinking about a girl back home that you were already missing, and she occupied your thoughts as you twirled the bottle of juice in your hands. You started reading the label to distract yourself and noticed that it said, “Shake well, separation is natural,” right over the nutrition facts. To most anyone else this phrase meant nothing, but to you it was significant.

Separation is natural. Separation is natural. Separation is natural. You were feeling quite contrary to this statement at the moment. Separation had never felt more unnatural to you in your whole life. You supposed longing, sadness, and loneliness were natural but felt certain that for you, separation was not at all natural. It was anything but natural to pack up your life and leave the girl you loved to do an internship in Italy for four years. You sat there in the airport pondering this for some time. You didn’t even notice that all the people waiting at the gate had boarded the plane or that they’d called your name several times on the overhead speakers. You just sat there thinking about her. You pulled out your cell phone to see what time it was and noticed that you had one new message in your inbox. Your heart started beating faster and faster as you wished and hoped that the message was from her. You tried to calm yourself down and prepare for the worst but it was simply not working. As you clicked on the message, your heart crumpled to pieces as you saw it was from your Mom, wishing you a safe trip. You’d never been more upset over a text message. As you pressed the button to turn the phone off, your inbox noted another new message. The phone was already shutting off but you weren’t too upset, you suspected it was another message from your mom again. She’d never entirely understood texting etiquette and often sent multiple messages with a sentence in each message.

You put the phone in your pocket and got out your flight information to see when this damn plane was leaving. You then realized that you’d never even looked at the time on your phone and fished it out to see how late it was. It was nine-thirty; your flight had left at seven. You sighed loudly and thought about what you needed to do to book a new flight. You felt overwhelmed and decided to procrastinate by reading the message you suspected was from your mom. To your surprise, it was not from your mom, but from the girl who never seemed far from your thoughts. It was simple message but it was enough to convince you that you could not go to Italy. You grabbed your things and ran off to get a ticket to fly home.

The next flight to your home state was leaving in six hours and this tore down your anticipatory excitement. You bought the ticket then went to that gate and sat down on the thin carpet in the corner. You were much too anxious to sleep or read so you decided to call her. She answered on the third ring and you heart seemed to fill with joy as you heard her voice. You didn’t want to frighten her and tell her that you weren’t going to Italy because of your feelings for her, but at the same time, you wanted her to know how you felt. Instead, you told her that it just didn’t feel like the right decision. She asked you why and although you planned to blame it on your missed flight, you ended up telling her the truth. You told her how unnatural separation really was and how terrible it already was to be apart from her. She told you that she had been hoping that you wouldn’t go through with the move ever since you had told her about it. It was nice to feel as though you both were on the same page and you felt as though you could talk more freely to her afterwards. She told you that she wished she could be there to keep you company and that she’d talk with you until it was time to board your flight. You spent the rest of the night smiling, talking to her, and feeling more certain about your decision. The hours passed by quickly with her. The flight home seemed unbearably long as you waited to see her and you could hardly stop moving in your seat. When the plane landed, you ran through the airport to find her and then leaned her back to kiss her as if you were both starring in a movie from the fifties. Your luggage was currently in Italy so you took her hand and walked out of the terminal. Being together with her was unquestionably natural.

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