“Only Traveling Passengers Past This Point” by Shimon Savitsky

Only Traveling Passengers Past This Point

My Dad parks the car while my Mom and I wheel my baggage to the check-in desk. I’ve never traveled alone and the request for my identification card, from the uniformed lady behind the counter, cements the idea that I am doing this myself and makes me wonder about my identity. I am no longer my parent’s kid; I am a separate individual with his own place in this world. What am I about and how do I plan on achieving it?

My dad has returned from the parking lot where he now stands with my mother. The three of us casually talk. I try to sound intrigued by whatever topic they bring up, but I am really never there. The whole time they are talking my mind is fixated on that neon-yellow rectangle 500 feet in front of me.

“Only traveling passengers past this point.”  

What am I doing?

The thought of me actually getting on this plane without my parents by my side starts to creep in to my mind. I try to dismiss the feeling, but it is to no avail. This is happening. I look up again,

“Only traveling passengers past this point.”

It’s 250 feet away now.  We find a group of my friends and stop to talk to them. My parents immediately dart off to the side, allowing me the opportunity to socialize with my friends. I don’t even think twice before saying goodbye to my friends and immediately trail my parents off to the side. Subconsciously, my mind wouldn’t allow me to squander the last few moments I would have with my parents. They have always been so supportive and encouraging. Perhaps they know something about me that I haven’t realized yet. That must be it! They would never intentionally put me in a position to fail. I begin to feel less anxious.

“Only traveling passengers past this point.”

100 feet away.

It is finally time for the goodbyes. I hug my Mom first, I can see a tear trying to break the surface, but she fights it back and smiles.  My Dad gives me a good squeeze and kiss and a smile as well. It was the smile that got my attention. I had seen these same smiles before. The first day of school, the day I left to sleep away camp, and so many other situations where I was starting something new. It was a smile that said, “We are here for you, but go because we believe in you and it’s going to work out”.

I look up again at the sign and its request,

“Only traveling passengers past this point.”

I feel a sense of ease come over me that borders on confidence.  

I now stand directly under the sign. I give one last glance at my parents but that is all I need; I know they are always there behind me. I then look at the sign one last time.

I step through to the next chapter of my life with a sense of purpose. My flight hasn’t even left, but I’ve already arrived.

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