I make it to Portland out of breath and feeling as though I’ve run here full-out from a nightmare. The flight was purgatory, a sausage elbow jabbing into me relentlessly until folded up like a pretzel against the window the sky offered scraps of comfort. A plane flying in the opposite direction trailing a line of straight white cloud. A patch of ground. The tip of Mount Hood. Life.
Navigating the airport was easy. I’d been here before. I followed the flow of disembarking passengers and when I saw him, even before he saw me, I felt all my worries drain out of me. I saw my father and it felt like catching a glimpse of porch light late at night between trees when lost in the woods you were nearing panic, not sure which way to turn. Relief. A direction home.
“Lindsay-girl!” A cheek-stretching grin.
He didn’t demand an explanation. He didn’t pry or judge my actions. He bought me a vanilla latte and let the words spill out of me unencumbered. I shook my head as I told him the story, attempting to shake something loose, perhaps. I told it wryly at my own expense and I made him chuckle and then laugh obnoxiously in the crowded baggage claim. He put his arm around my shoulders and I stood there for a while leaning against him, at peace.
Whatever the last week has been, whatever mistakes were made or things said or hearts broken, it offered up a fragile silver-lining that could be easily overlooked. It allowed for a rescue. A chance for a father to swoop in for the very first time, gather his daughter up broken wing in hand, and carry her home.