50 years

April 02, 2012
JB SC wedding

A week ago, as we flew into Honolulu for our honeymoon (Kauai was our ultimate destination), a series of everyday human interactions launched me over my emotional limit.

Directly to my right was an old couple that slept for most of the flight, but woke up as soon as we started our descent. She was sitting next to the window, he to her left, their intertwined and wrinkled hands resting on her lap.

As she looked out the window and made first sight of the island, she took a deep breath, smiled slowly to herself and gripped her partner's hand … as a tear rolled down her cheek. They grinned at each other and then looked back out the window, all four eyes wide open and wet.

She tried in vain to hold steady his shaking hands. They both were overwhelmed, and unbeknownst to them, so was I. Their actions and reactions caught me off-guard, as I was at that moment, and for most of the flight, thinking about the fact that I had just gotten married and was now on my honeymoon. The scene was as affecting as any in recent memory.

She was Japanese, he was not. My mind started racing, and in typical fashion I began (over-)romanticizing the situation. Was he in the Navy? Did they meet here when they were in their 20s? Was this their first time back to the island since he was stationed on the mainland 50 years ago? Was their first child conceived here? Who was this incredible couple sitting next to me?

As they stared at the coast and no doubt replayed in their minds the life they'd shared together, I could tell that for brief moments each of them felt young and sturdy again. For brief moments his hands didn't shake.

It was a beautiful movie that I couldn't stop watching, and deep inside I was projecting my life onto theirs, hoping I would be fortunate enough to have a similar experience 50 years from now, with the girl whose hand I was holding ... as a tear rolled down my cheek.

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