I have a vision of how the story will end. I don't know yet exactly how to bring it there, but I thought that if I write a conclusion and share it here, it's a way to make sure the whole story will get written, edited and polished, some day, some way.
So... here goes.
Although an international airport never really goes to sleep, some of the action began to wind down. Stores were closing, and only a few all-night cafes and kiosks remained open. There were still more than two hours left until my flight. I sat down, leaned sideways onto my carry-on bag, and almost imperceptibly dozed off. I didn't hear the sound of footsteps, but a familiar voice pulled me out of sleep.
I looked up, and felt a jolt of surprise. It was David, standing with his hands in his pockets and smiling.
"What are you doing here?" I didn't understand. "I thought exam time wasn't over yet – "
"It isn't. I had a few days between exams, so I thought I would come to see you off."
"You shouldn't have!" I objected. "You must study; I don't want you to miss out on revision on my account."
He gave a noncommittal shrug. "I can study anyplace. But don't you worry about me. I think you have enough on your mind right now." I nodded slowly, so he went on. "As a matter of fact, I'm surprised to see you here alone."
"Oh, everyone came along to see me to the airport," I explained. "I told them they needn't stay half the night, though." I looked away. "I know you probably still think I shouldn't go."
"No," he shook his head. "Now I realize it is inevitable, but you will be back… won't you?" for the first time, he sounded a little anxious. I drew a deep breath.
"I will," I said. "And I'm happy about it. The past years with your family, David… they taught me more than I ever thought to, or even wanted to learn. My eyes were opened to so many things. But I… when I only just came here, I thought Aunt Anne was weird. Now I understand where she is coming from, and appreciate her. More than appreciate, admire her. I mean, how could I not, after all she had done for me? I don't think I should want to be quite like her, though," I finished in a firmer voice.
He stared, a little surprised, a little relieved. "Of course not. You will always be you, and that is perfectly fine."
I was relieved to hear this, because I felt he was addressing an unanswered question that had hovered on the outskirts of my mind for a long time, vaguely troubling me. My eyes wandered to the black screen where the date and time of flights were displayed in shining red letters. There was exactly an hour left until I was due to board the plane.
"You might want to go home," I told David. "You'll need to catch up on sleep if you're planning to study tomorrow."
But he sat down. "I'll wait," he said with a reassuring smile, and I offered a shy one in return.
Once more, my life was taking a turn when I least expected it. Just as I felt I have adjusted, and even became inspired by the quiet home life, I was due to return again to the scenes I have missed so much several years ago, but from which I now felt detached, as though it was a dusty page in an old book telling about someone else's life. Like when I first boarded a plane here, I felt confused; I did not know what to expect. Yet I was more optimistic than before. Something within me strongly told me that I should expect things to be good, though perhaps not perfect. And I knew that the people I loved, the distant relatives who became my own close family in the past years, will be with me, always, near or far.
And yes, I knew I would be coming back. But I had no idea what kind of woman I would become by then.