Imagine getting into a romantic relationship. Then going through abuse in it. Second-guessing it. Trying to make it work. Turning around and walking back into it numerous times. Hoping against hope that one day, things will be better. Making up after another one of the big arguments. Reveling in some love that comes for a short while after and believing in the anticlimax again. Only to get back on the hamster wheel.
The hamster wheel can get old. And it does for some women. Then they book a ticket to a plane. They leave their home quietly. On the way to the airport they reminisce about the good days. But even these memories aren’t good enough to make them turn back. This is the final ride out of that relationship.
Or so it seems…..
For most people here, I don’t have to describe the airport. For the few fortunate ones who have lived the life of a content native who has never felt the need to uproot themselves for pleasure or business, here’s the deal. The airport, even the smaller ones, isn’t a small place. There are many checkpoints. There are many stops inside the airport. And there are many on the way to it.
So this woman is now past the ticket counter, past baggage check, past security. And let’s not forget that most airports are outside the city so she probably traveled here after at least a many-minute car ride (and sometimes the train). She is now actually waiting to board the plane to sometimes……. another country.
She is thinking about him. A part of her wants to go back and rebuild that old trauma bond with a narcissist. A part of her, wiser and more battered, reminds her of the cost of returning (and of the ticket).
Someone calls her name. It’s her lover. That man that patriarchy allowed her. The one man, in a sea of men, who would be the horror of her life and yet she chose him. When you have been raised to love patriarchs and feel sexually attracted to toxic masculinity, you just can’t help it.
He looks at her, sometimes says a few lines of rehearsed love. Sometimes even sheds a tear or two. Sometimes even begs her to come back.
He has gotten past the ticket counter, the baggage check, the security line. This is the farthest he has traveled to get her in their entire relationship. This is a cause for celebration and even, maybe, returning to him?
Say no more, she tells her heart! This is a changed man, she reasons. He has never looked at me like this before. He has never even opened the door for me. For him to come this far for me and get through all the checkpoints is a big thing.
She runs back and lands in his arms. White, brown, black, whatever color woman you wanna insert here, runs back to the man who came to the airport to bring her back home.
Women! What is it about airports that makes deadbeat men look nice to you? Are you so afraid to lose him? The reason why you’re at the airport is his shortcomings. Think about it! You’re at the airport because you wanted to put as many miles between him and you as humanly possible but one call from him and you run to him?
See! Airports have enjoyed the reputation for being the place where goodbyes are said. Where life decisions are made. Where people meet and also break apart.
This is an atrocious romanticism that has been attached to an inanimate building as an airport. It’s literally the biggest transport building in the modern world.
But I think I understand why airports have been used like Pavlov used the bell. The airports and the departure from the airport have started to mean to women that this is final. This is it. If they take this flight then there’s no turning back. They fear the breaking up of an already fractured relationship. Of all the things that women fear, no fear shames the fear of having a past relationship. Of having a relationship that didn’t die with us. Of having any past at all. A woman can’t have a past. She either has to live in it and continue to make it her present and her future or she has to erase it.
There’s something deeper also. We are so hooked to the guy showing his love “finally” that we have lost the meaning of “finally”.
A woman booking the ticket is finally. Her thinking of leaving him is finally. The rest is all just logistic occurrences. Him running to the airport is just a desperate attempt by a patriarch who buried his narcissism long enough to win her back on no new conditions. Actually, his fire has been fueled even more. He can now bring her back EVEN FROM THE AIRPORT.
Women don’t usually love someone because they locked eyes with them and couldn’t look away. Or they knew and liked someone and then finally asked them out one day. Women have been socialized to like toxic males and patriarchs. If someone doesn’t exhibit traits of narcissism, he’s not the quintessential possessive dream man. This socialization works against a woman but as you can see, brings many men into our lives to their advantage. (And our detriment).
If I were a writer of movies and shows I’d write about a woman. Someone who persevered. Someone who gave it her all. Someone who got back on the hamster wheel over and over. Someone who finally bought the ticket. Someone who met with her patriarch when he chased her to the airport. Someone who took that flight and returned only if she wanted to. Or someone who never returned at all.