After our merry jaunt around the Ring of Kerry, various side trips around Cork, and my family skipping out on me to go to Blarney Castle (it’s a tourist trap, I tell you!), my family has moved on to Dublin. Both of my aunts will be flying home within the next week (one at the beginning of the week and the other at the end), I will join my parents for one last short visit, and then they too will fly back to the States, and I probably won’t see them again until around Christmas time–perhaps even later. I don’t know. We’ll see.
My dad and I drove the car back to the airport to return it to the rental agency (bye bye, sweet wheels. I’ll miss you, but I won’t miss the possibility of scrapes), then took a cab to meet my mother and aunts at the train station. We all sat in the train station for about an hour and a half, waiting. At first we talked, but then we all gradually lapsed into silence.
This is why I don’t like waiting to see people off. The awkward silence is unnerving. Because after a while, what do you talk about? What do you do? If you see someone up to airport security, you have your moment to say your goodbyes, then they go one way, you stand around for about five minutes, wave at them even when they probably can’t see you, then you go get lunch and they go get coffee and read a book while they wait for their plane. In a train station–especially a train station you had to get to early–it’s not like that. You just sit. The clock ticks. People buy tickets. People buy coffee. You buy coffee. You buy another coffee you don’t really need. You want to read, but you don’t want to offend them. And you just feel sad. Not the sadness of “oh, I miss them” but the sadness of knowing that you’re going to be sad later, and you would much rather just get it over with and be sad.
Eventually their train came, I walked them as far as I could, then watched as they got on the train. If I were the one getting on the train and my mother was seeing me off, she would probably have waited until the train pulled out of the station before she left. I couldn’t see them, and they probably couldn’t see me, so I didn’t see the point. I turned and started the half hour walk back to my apartment. I probably could have taken a cab–or at least the bus–but I did not particularly feel like it, and by this point I knew the walk very well, and that it would take me right past two of my favorite places to get drinking chocolate.
So I walked. I stopped and got some chocolate. I felt sad. I don’t think I stayed to drink my chocolate at the shop–I think I continued walking home, taking it with me. I don’t particularly remember, but I don’t know if it particularly matters if I remember.
And then I was home, and they were on their way to Dublin.