I hate leaving day. Whether I’m leaving California, or like today, my family or friends are leaving England, I hate it. I know they are essential; they walk hand-in-hand with arrival days and I would never wish those to end. But even though I’ve been doing this for four and half years now – longer even if you count Crunchy husband’s leaving days before I moved – leaving day never gets easier and it always goes pretty much the same.
I wake up with the “first day of school” knots twisting my stomach. I feel agitated, but don’t want to be grumpy in the final minutes until I part from the people I love. Thinking about this and trying to correct it, the pendulum swings to emotional and weepy. I get myself out of bed and allow myself to cry in the shower and then once the water’s off, tell myself “that’s it” and try to act normal. Which doesn’t really happen, but we all pretend it does, so that’s fine. I manage to keep it together, or together enough, until we get to the security line at the airport and then, without fail, the together starts to leak salty tears. Which usually get stifled fairly quickly (or in today’s case, quick enough anyway), and I hold it together again until I get back into my car and allow myself to collapse into sobs for a couple minutes until I talk myself into enough composure again to hit the M25 safely.
That was pretty much my day, in a nutshell. The one thing that didn’t go quite as usual, but was a welcome laugh was breakfast. Halfway through breakfast my mom stood up from the table, walked into the kitchen and started cracking up. Last night Crunchy husband cooked a fine chili. A chili with chili powder. Chili powder that was placed back on the shelf in front of all the other spices, including the cinnamon. This morning, following her usual breakfast routine, my mother grabbed the spice marked with a large C and laced her sultana bran with chili powder instead of cinnamon. Which was funny in itself, but even funnier because it took her half the bowl to realize her mouth was on fire and even longer to connect up what had happened.
Thank goodness for comic relief. It makes leaving day just that little bit easier.