Most days come with an expectation, you expect a day to be boring or fun, you can expect a lot of things in a day but hurt is the last thing one would ever expect. The rising sun sending its gaze into my room assured me that I had managed to get into the day and I had to face that which was to come. It was certain, the flight had left Auckland with both of them on board the day before and I expected only one reality, that the moment the wheels of the aeroplane touch the ground, my pain will begin. No man is immune to grief, whether through the passing of a tear or through the hardening of one’s heart, grief is unique per individual yet common across all men. The day went with preparations taking place, tents being set up in the yard and caterers arriving, it was going to be a long weekend.
The sun was setting just after five o’clock. I prepared, putting on warm clothing, getting some cash from the safe and trying to assure myself that in all things I will have the strength to pull through. Mom and dad were now prepared and we boarded separate cars to proceed to the airport. Part of a small convoy I found myself drifting down memory lane, trying to find a memory to live in that would not evaporate in the dense heat of reality. Arriving at the airport, I walked around looking for information on the flight, to my surprise I found that the flight had been delayed by an hour. I certainly would not drive back home, neither would my parents or the others accompanying us. I lingered around the airport, trying to while time, trying to find out why I could not wake up from this dream but in all things reality was even more present than my imagination could thwart. An hour passed like a flash and soon my ears could hear the near silent distant thunder of incoming jet engines. In the distance where bright lights with red blinking strobes on the side. The Emirates flight had finally arrived! It touched down on the far side of the runway and taxied to the docking port. As it taxied I looked at the size of the plane, majestic it was with a almost god like aura. “After 4 years, you come back to me like this!”, I said to myself.
I got off the balcony overlooking part of the runway and went into the airport lobby. From there I could go to a restaurant I could get a bird’s eye view of the arrival lounge. Passengers started getting off the plan and through a series of security checks, doors and stairs, found their way into the arrival lounge. I looked trying to find her, it had been 7 years without seeing her in person. I would expect to be forgiven if I had forgotten what she looked like. After a number of minutes I found her, clad in a white blouse and black skirt she was waiting at the conveyor belt for her suitcase. She now had some white hair, old age visits all of us at some point. The distance between us made it easier, but I never imaged I would be meeting her again under such circumstances. Her suitcase finally came into her sight and she grabbed it and proceeded to customs to get cleared. I left the restaurant to proceed to the arrival gate where she would come out from. I could feel tears building up inside me but I kept walking on. As I turned the last corner I saw her coming out the gate, my mom and some relatives rushed to greet her. The short moment I had seen her face made my emotions surge inside me as I almost broke into tears. My aunt and cousin who had been following me all along touched my shoulders and I felt myself calming down. As I got closer to where she was I felt the urge to cry, every step became heavier and in the end I hid behind a pillar close by. I could see her and she could see me too but I could not get close to her, I couldn’t even greet her! We waited at the arrival gate for an hour, waiting for cargo papers to be cleared so we could proceed to the Cargo Handling Services hangar where he would be. Papers were cleared and stamped and the hearse had also arrived. We left the airport to go to the cargo hangars, a five minute drive without regarding the numerous stops along the way for security searches. Soon enough we had arrived at the hangar and the undertaker had proceeded in to get the last pieces of paperwork signed and stamped. Within minutes the hangar doors were opened and a forklift came out, on its forks was my worst fear. He was here, after all these years, after sending him off he came back to me in a box. I couldn’t stand close, I was a distance away but I could see everything. I had never imagined in all my years that the day I sent you off, hugs and all was the last time I would see my brother alive. He was loaded into the hearse and I turned to go to my car, fighting back tears and trying not to fall apart. I couldn’t do that with my parents and aunt around me, I still hadn’t even found the strength and resolve to greet my aunt since she landed. We drove away from the airport, towards the morgue where he would spend the night.