When: May 2, 2007
Where: Frankfurt Airport, Germany
The above photo is of a cup of chamomile tea I had with breakfast at the Frankfurt Airport while on my way home from Kosovo for two weeks of leave. I hadn’t seen Virginia, or the United States, since the previous October. A lot had happened. In the seven months since I’d been away, there were a lot of things I hadn’t gotten to do. Like drink beer. Or wear civilian clothes. Or shower in a private bathroom. I was itching for some freedom and there, at the Frankfurt Airport, was were I got my first taste of it.
First, there was breakfast. I wish I could remember more of it. I remember the tea. And the toast. And maybe some fruit. But that’s it. I was too busy taking in everything to notice the food.
I was with a group of about six other Soldiers all going home on leave. We were talking about what we wanted to do when we got home. We all had checklists of things to do and see and eat and drink. We wandered around the airport for a bit. Because we could. Because the Army believes in being there at least six hours before your flight. Just in case. So we wandered. And found a place with beer. And a deck of cards. And there we sat. Six of us, drinking beer, playing cards, talking about the things we wanted to do, the family members we would be seeing after just a few hours over the ocean.
Every hour or so another person would leave the group. We all had planes to catch, some sooner than others. It was a beautiful thing, that first taste of freedom.
There’s something about lady bugs that makes my heart clench. In a good way. Seeing them that day, on that tea-cup, was perfect. They gave me back a bit of the femininity I’d missed so much in the time I’d been gone from home and curling irons and finger nail polish.