My Love Begins at Longjia International Airport
The ground punched hard as the Air China Airbus A319 touches down at Changchun’s at 6:45 pm local time. After 23 hours, I am here. The flight from Virginia to Changchun gave me plenty of time to think. The three questions I kept asking myself were:
- Are my feelings so strong that I am traveling nearly 9,000 miles to be with someone I never physically met?
- Is Taiyanghua God’s answer to what my heart is missing? I prayed a long time asking God to bring someone in my life that could share my faith and love me the way I am with my health issues.
- Or have I just completely lost it!? Here I am 61 years old, never flown further than California. But the main thing is I never take any risks and I hate change.
So why am I doing this? Why fly nine thousand miles to be with a person I really don’t know? Is it really for love? Or is it this secret I have carried for so long that haunts me? Has my loneliness deceived my thinking as to what really matters in my life. The thought of being in a relationship is exhilarating, exciting and terribly scary Maybe I have traveled so far, hoping love will gain victory over it in a new country and experiencing a new culture? Every day it is there, a part of me locked in the deepest, darkest part of my mind. I can hear the whispers of the past.
Reaching in and grabbing my last bag from the baggage carousel a sudden rush of reality squeezed my body and quickly released me, quivering. Drinking in as much air as possible I let go of all the stressors inside me with a big whoosh. I head to the terminal entrance to meet the woman who inspired me to do the unthinkable. It is no longer the video chats on the computer. The silliness that made us laugh, the long, in-depth conversations of our life and future together, the I love you with all the cute emoticons. All of that is history and the metamorphous of our relationship begins anew as I step through the terminal entrance.
A waiting crowd of people corralled by a rope barricade were all stretching their upper torsos trying to locate their expectant arrival. I am trying to zero-in on Tai as the mass of heads in front of me bobbed in and out. Taiyanghua where are you? She did text me to let me know what she would be wearing. That did not have much significance since I was exhausted from lack of sleep over the last couple of days and the long walks in the terminals as I change flights. The neuropathy in my feet and lower legs had tolerated so much pain as I push onward. Now, staring into a crowd of people only made them jumble together like looking into a massive kaleidoscope. Was she among the group? Did she see me? Is she even here? What if she changed her mind? Questions, popping in my head like firecrackers all at once. I moved down to the end of the rope barrier, circling around the group of waiting people hoping she was among those in the back.
Then in the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse. A woman looking… waiting anxiously for a lone American man as she peered over the shoulders of two men in front of her. I turn toward her and for what felt like an eternity I froze in place. I watched as she looked for me coming through the terminal doorway. She mimicked a nervous, yet excited contestant on a game show. She was stepping side to side, stretching on her toes, and working her way to the front. Her long black hair was in a pony tail off to the side a bit. She was taller than I had expected. She told me she was five feet six inches, but with heels she boosted a good two-inches in height as she stood rubbing her hands. The tan silk-like pants with a simple flowery print were the kind that came up high on her midriff giving her a slender appearance. My favorite style. Her light green blouse was a pleasant match with the tan vest. Accented lastly with a multi-colored scarf in pastels gave her a look of sophistication. I could see the softness of her olive skin as she smiled. She reached into a large brown leather bag retrieving her cellphone.
While Taiyanghua had yet to see me; I took in every bit of her and stored it in my heart. I did not think of taking any pictures as exhaustion just made me forget. I only wanted to touch her. To feel her cheek against the palm of my hand. I wanted to feel the softness of her hair and see her lips smile. I wanted to hold her, the dream I had known from afar. All the questions of why I flew 9,000 miles came down to one answer. Hope! There is not a single answer for anything we do in life that surpasses love in the heart. For Tai and I the words spoken were always from the heart. Asking many questions about a future together. Living with so many cultural differences as we will face difficulties, struggles and uncertainty of what the future holds. We are with faith and the grace of God committed to moving forward to a life of discovery and happiness. The excitement builds as the anticipation of Tai’s and my first meeting is here. I walked up to Tai with cautious demeanor and softly touch her arm saying hello Tai, it is me. She turns…