i’m not as good as i once was

I never just breathe. I spend most of my time doing the opposite – holding my breath until it comes out so fast and furious it makes me dizzy. But today, outside the airport, I took a moment to do it…to just breathe. I didn’t worry about the sun on my face or the time on my wrist or any of the things that have been making me feel like not-me these last few months.

In front of me a man stood by a car and told a woman he loved her. They hugged. I moved my eyes, because that’s what I do. Public displays of affection make me uncomfortable. But the eye moving didn’t help. In front of their car was another. Another someone else, dropping off their someone, too. An elderly man, leaving his teenage grandson. The younger man said “I love you”, the older “I’ll miss you, boy.” They didn’t shake hands. They hugged.

I stood there for half an hour. Just watching. Watching people be good to other people. Wondering if they ever took the time, like I never had, to look behind them or in front of them in that long crazy line where everyone just hugged and loved and smiled even when they cried.

It was a beautiful thing. Seeing all those perfect, tiny moments lined up like that affected me in a profound way. Two years of tension just left my body. No kind of yoga ever did that.

If you feel like feeling good about people, and what it means to be one of them, go to an airport. Stand at curb-side drop off. And spend some time watching. Then go back to your car and remember how you used to love Toby Keith and how you’re gonna start loving him some more. Because he’s still as good as he ever was.

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  • Patricia
    Jul 31, 2012 at 2:01

    your writing always touches me down deep inside! you have your grandma’s gift with words…never stop writing!

  • JP Fanshawe
    Jul 31, 2012 at 4:16

    Damn….I love your soul. I really do. I can’t quite go with you to the Toby Keith monolith, because of that whole THIS IS Amerrrirca, and a Boot-In-Your-Ass Thing, but I know what you mean. I really hope that we all get to meet someday and become something more than virtual friends….

  • Buffy
    Jul 31, 2012 at 4:29

    @JP. LOL – That’s exactly why I went off Keith ten years ago. But I was flipping through the stations on my way home and that song came on….and, honestly, I laughed from sheer joy. He’s the guilty pleasure I don’t know why I ever felt guilty about. 🙂 It’s this learning-to-exhale thing I’m trying. I’m also gonna try to visit “The WV” more often. We’ll have to meet up and talk about film and Faulkner.

  • Carrie
    Jul 31, 2012 at 7:16

    I love that! I thought I was the only one to breathe like that. I llove to watch people to, it kind of reminds us sometimes that it is ok to feel.

  • Secret Admirer
    Aug 29, 2012 at 2:39

    This was beautiful Buffy! 🙂