The joys and blues of Schiphol

I remembered standing there a long, long time ago, in front of the same tainted glass doors of Arrivals 1, waiting anxiously for them to open. Memories of certain feelings flooded through my stomach. The excitement of knowing someone’s about to be happy to see you, knowing a few warm hugs are just moments away.

Like so many others I was way too early. I had been standing below the screens, watching the numbers change. Some planes landed sooner than expected, others took longer than planned. They must have had trouble with the wind or something, I imagined. And then hers had said: LANDED, 10 minutes early. And right away I had taken off to that glass door, knowing she had to walk all the way from the plane to the luggage belt and wait for her suitcase to appear. A plane from Barcelona had landed as well and I wondered if I was about to run into someone familiar.

So there I was: waiting, reminiscing, remembering, hoping, wishing. Getting emotional thinking about leaving, returning, seeing other people happy to see one another. My son was just running around, excited from having seen planes taking off, listening to the roaring sound of the engines, having sat down in a Cityhopper, not wanting to get off. He yelled out her name, as if that would make her come out the glass door faster. Maybe it did. He jumped up and down and ran towards her, gave her a hug, and another one, glowing with joy. Then he looked at me with the happiest smile: ‘Look mama, it’s Cinthya!’ Writing it down it sounds like the cheesiest moment from some feelgood movie. But it was beautiful and it did make us all feel good. Something about a saying about distance and a heart and fondness.

We celebrated her new job with the lights of Schiphol and Amsterdam at our feet. We had a toast with lots and lots of unspoken words. And then we had to send her off again, she was going home. How I envied her, and so did my son: ‘I want to go on the plane with Cinthya!’

I just wanted to go home as well.

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