Flight Risk

It is 6 am in Guanajuato, Mexico. In 1.5 hours I will board a plane to Detroit, get felt up and frisked frisked by customs, and then fly on to Richmond where my family will pick me up from the airport at 5:20 pm. I have been up since 3:45. In the shuttle to the airport I noticed my shirt was inside out and backwards so I changed it by the dark of night and the light of the moon.

As glorious as Mexico is, as bright the colors, as delicious the food, as glorious the animals and people and art and music, as fabulous as the writing and painting on our retreat, I am ready to go home. My uncle died the day before I left for this trip and we will go to his funeral the morning after I return. I still haven’t figured out how to explain my itinerary to my dog and cats and lizard and I hate to think, they might think I’ll never return. My son has probably grown a foot taller and my husband will forget our system of sharing the Netflix account.

Last week in class, as we discussed my imminent departure, a beloved student called me a flight risk. She was right— last time. Last time I wanted to stay forever and never come home. “Watch out! You have Vacation Brain!” another friend warned. Vacation Brain tells you that you will be happier, smarter and more alive wherever you have traveled and that you will never again have to deal with all the bullshit from home.

Vacation Brain is a liar.

My issues are packed in my carry on. There’s no leaving them, wherever I go. Mexico changed me last time I was here and it has changed me again. I love my students, my co-teacher, the beautiful people I met and the beautiful places I saw. I will not miss my extra dose of blisters, heat rash and intestinal distress, but I will miss the mangoes with chili and lime, the insane parades, the mariachi bands, the expansive rooftop views, and the vibrant and mystical spirit of the land. Still, when the time comes to board the plane, I will find my place in line.

Valley HaggardComment