My thoughts couldn’t help but return to her as the jet engines began to spool up. As the captain of this lumbering jet advanced the throttles the engines nimbly responded, increasing their thrust output and pushing us down the runway, their blades spinning, air heating and screaming out the back. For me in the comfort of my window seat I listened to the dull whine and thought of her. This plane takes me away from her, back to the apartment I call mine and the loneliness I also call mine. 

The scenes of Taoyuan airport begin to speed by as we pick up momentum. Part of me, though, was on the airport express train headed back into the city. She’s probably almost to Taipei Station by now. 

It was heartbreaking parting ways with her- with my heart left broken at the security line. I’m tired of goodbyes, I’m tired of not seeing her everyday when I wake up. These quick visits spoil me. I think of days, hopefully down the pipe for us, where this will be a sweet memory. Something I view as cute almost, lovelorn and broken hearted sitting in a secret screaming down a runway. 

Now, though, as the wings flex under the increasing force of lift, it feels anything but cute or romantic. It just plain hurts. The person I want to be with is here and I am lifting off for another place. Another airport will receive me, customs officers will process my passport and check my bag. I will be belched out into an arrivals area where she isn’t. Take a similar airport train to a central station, but not the one she took. I will go into an apartment, but not one where she calls home, and a bed we can’t share. 

But one day, I repeat to myself as the wheels begin to feel light and the captain sees he’s reached his takeoff speed. He pulls back on the yoke and we lift into the air. My hear though, remains, and only that which is left of a person without such a vital piece, lifts up into the clouds.

Below me the the hills and mountains of that beautiful island undulate into the clouds, looking green and beautiful on this spring morning. I look down with growing regret, regret I left her here, regret I left at all, regret I’m on this plane. Hope, though, fills the space my heart once was. Hope that one day a plane will return me to this airport, or some other. And there, in the arrival hall, dressed in a smile she will be waiting. For that day I hope, though this plane is going the exact opposite way. Hope though, as is the case with all of my fellow humans, shall be the pilot light for the fires of my soul. 

The good news is that one day I did walk out into an airport, or well actually it was a land border crossing, and she was waiting when I arrived. I wore my best smile, and she hers. We embraced and returned the pieces of each other’s hearts we’d held safe until this moment. Since then we haven’t spent a day apart. 

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