“It happens in, like, every movie,” Karina says. “They get to the airport, they stand in front of the security checkpoint, and then all those dramatic moments happen. People win Oscars with airport scenes. That’s all they’re there for, really.”
“Why are you telling me this?” I, the suitcase mule, ask. Karina has a backpack and duffel bag, sure, but why am I the one lugging around three suitcases?
“Because I think we’re better than that,” she says. “We’re just going to say goodbye, and then I’m going to go to Japan for a few months, and you’re going to save Atlanta a few times.”
“Yeah, I imagine that’s exactly how this will go, Karina. Especially because we’re already talking about how it will.”
Karina sniffles. “We’re going to be really cool with each other because that’s how we always are. The movies are stupid and we’re not like that.”
“Karina, are you alright?”
She wipes the tears from her eyes and blinks a few times. “Yeah, of course. Now, you were saying?”
“Do you want to, uh, check these suitcases before you go through security?” I ask.
“Oh, those? Those are souvenirs for you.”
I giggle. “Okay, I guess I’ll go then.” I turn around and roll them away with me, until she grips my arm to stop me.
“You wouldn’t dare.”
“Huh? But you said…”
Karina loosens her grip on my arm. She gently squeezes it a few times. I let go of one of the suitcases and put my free hand on top of hers.
I look at her like I haven’t in a long time. And I try to say something. Anything. So does she. It… doesn’t seem like anything is coming out.
“I’m going to miss you,” Karina says. She lets go of me and pushes her glasses up.
“Me too,” I reply.
“You’re going to miss yourself?”
“Yeah, because without you, I’m nothing.”
She gently punches me in the arm. “Stop it, Morgan,” she laughs.
We go up to the airline counter and check Karina’s suitcases. She waves, I wave back. She walks away to the security checkpoint. I keep waving. She looks away.
I stop waving.
I put my hands in my pockets.
Karina comes back. A huge smile on her face.
“Huh? What are you–”
She plants her lips on mine.
A quick kiss. It lasts for three seconds, maybe four.
“I’ll see you in August,” Karina whispers. “Wait for me.”
Karina goes through the security checkpoint, takes one last look back, and walks past my line of sight.
“I love you,” I whisper back. I go home and cry myself to sleep that night.