Vibhu arrived last night at the Vancouver Airport after 30+ hours of travel from India. I stood, waiting, patiently at first, but as the minutes ticked on, I wanted to jump and roll around on the floor just as impatiently as the little kids waiting for their mum next to me. They have these cool video monitors now that let you see travelers as they exit the customs area so that you can see your loved one a few minutes before they actually step out into the arrivals terminal. My eyes were glued to those grainy images as I searched for Vibhu. I examined everyone, toddlers, old ladies, even flight attendants, searching for Vibhu–his form, his gait, his hair–in those blurry images. So many people passed my eyes while I was waiting for him that I got the timing down perfectly and knew that from the time the doors revealed the next set of passengers until they walked through the swarms of awaiting family members, I’d have 45 seconds to navigate the crowd and find a spot towards the end of the roped off walkway so that he could see me. I finally saw him, my heart fluttered, and I was suddenly aware of my hands clapping together, of the smile that stretched across my face. Hold it together Dona, I told myself. His eyes searched frantically for me, scanning the crowd, as I waited for him at the end of the roped off area.
He gathered me in inside his UC Davis hoodie embrace and I was home.