Nach Hause

Not even a month ago, we had walked out of Munich airport into overcast skies and a light drizzle. It was quite dreary, but it was refreshing. Something about the rain always made me feel happy. But the rain today made my stomach churn and my heart drop.

It had rained the day we arrived as well.

                It was funny how similar the two days were. Not even a month ago, we had walked out of Munich airport into overcast skies and a light drizzle. It was quite dreary, but it was refreshing. Something about the rain always made me feel happy. Much like the earth was being replenished, the sky water helped relax me; to remove my stress. The flight there had left me so exhausted and tired that the only thing I could really comprehend was how wonderful the water felt and how the air smelled so deliciously fresh compared to the smell of the sterilized airport.

                But the rain today made my stomach churn and my heart drop.

                We were inside the airport, half of us lying on the ground using our luggage as a pillow as we tried to catch up on lost sleep. The small digital clock over the flight list read a rather irritating oh-three-hundred, but most of us hardly noticed or were too tired to care. Several of the students had pulled down their luggage to use as pillows, or used the laps of fellow classmates as a headrest. One kid, clad in lederhosen, was sitting upright, head bobbing every so often as he drifted in and out of sleep.

                The rain pelted the air port windows, creating a light thrumming noise that filled the near deserted building. I looked down rather disheartendly at the slice of strawberry cake in my hands. It was half eaten and something told me it wasn’t going to get finished any time soon. It was nothing like the cakes I had tasted elsewhere. It was too sweet, too artificial.

                Just like the food in America.

                “I don’t want to go home…” I mumbled after sticking my fork into the tasteless pastry. Mary hummed in agreement from beside me, and half of the kids who were still awake threw in their comments as well. Nobody wanted to go. So why did we have too?

                Grudgingly, I stood, wobbling slightly as I hobbled forward toward the trashcan. Throwing away the cake gave me some sort of satisfaction. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was tossing away something that reminded me of home, or because I had rid myself of a potential stomachache. I closed my eyes, sighed, and then collapsed into one of the benches set out for passengers.

                I had been in Germany for a little less than a month. We all had, sans my mother and Mary’s who had come two weeks later than we had. Potsdam, Berlin, Nuremburg… We had been all over the eastern side of Germany. I was able to visit Sanssouci, a palace that quite literally left me speechless when I was finally able to step through its ornate doors and gaze at the fine craftsmanship of the building. I had been inside a building that had been built back in the seventeen forties, in a place that wasn’t Germany, but was Prussia then. It had been built by a King who made his name in history as Frederick the Great.

                If only I could have met the man, visited his grave or gotten to see more of that beautiful palace ground…

                In less than a few short hours, I would be up in the air without a way to go back until far in the future. I would have to wait years to be able to come back to this place, to see these beautiful landscapes and buildings, to stand inside history and feel it instead of just reading about it all day.

                Why did we have to go home?

                Why was it necessary?

                Why couldn’t I just stay here forever?

                It really hurt to be leaving such a beautiful country. I didn’t want to trade back the forests and castles for urbanization and American football. There was too much litter back home, too much fast food, too much commercialization, too little anything interesting.

                I had already cried about leaving on the bus ride to the airport. The show had been less than stellar and I had even promised myself that I wouldn’t cry beforehand. Yet sitting on the bench, I had to swallow back the lump in my throat that threatened to give way to more tears that I was unwilling to shed. There was a chunk of coal sitting in the pit of my stomach next to some toxic strawberry cake that overall just made me feel sick and miserable.

                I didn’t want to leave. Even as the flight attendant finally came in—her heels that clicked against the ground echoed in the seemingly barren building, making my head hurt and my stomach churn uneasily—started checking us in for our first flight, I was reluctant to follow through with anything. All of us walked to the flight gate with little to nothing said. We boarded the plane in a sort of solemn grace and took our seats in a dreary silence. Not a word was said other than the light “Thank You” or “Danke Schön” that was required out of expected politeness.

                “Hallo und Guten Morgan,”

                I rested my head on the window, eyes drifting shut before the pilot could finish his introduction. Mary took a seat next to me, resting her hand on top of mine and giving it a light comforting squeeze.

                “Wir werden im fünf minuten abfahren.”

                The rain continued to fall in a tantalizingly slow pace.

The End

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