Pearson tarmac, en route to Iqaluit

Pearson tarmac

August 4, 2014



When I left for Austria, Daniel came to the airport with me. Tata had dropped us off. Tata’s always offered a ride to and from the airport. He may not be the most emotionally-accessible father, but he often means well and is consistent and sincere in the help he can think—or is willing—to offer.

“Call me…one time,” he said when dropping me off to fly to BC a few months ago.

“I’ll call you…one time,” I said today when he dropped Alex and I off.


Daniel and I ate at Swiss Chalt while we waited for my flight to Vienna all those years ago. Only four or five years, really, but it feels like a lifetime. Daniel’s dead now. And so is Mama. And now I sit, waiting on the Pearson tarmac, en route to Iqaluit, with a definite purpose, a focus I never had before, though focus isn’t everything. Daniel cried when it was time to say goodbye. That surprised and touched me. I always struggled to recognize and appreciate his sensitivity. I blame it on being a stupid man. I’m pretty sure he paid for Swiss Chalet, because that’s the kind of guy he was.


I’m always the one leaving. Maybe that’s why I don’t understand the grief or sadness at parting. It’s not fair, really. Excitement, novelty and self-serving, egocentric desire is palpable for me when I’m in an airport. But for those I leave behind, an anticipated absence.


Alex held it together today. I almost cired when we were hugging and kissing, saying goodbye. The only other time I almost cried was an hour or two earlier. I was standing in the living room, making sure I hadn’t forgotten anything, when I became aware that I was standing on the exact spot Mama died, in a hospital bed.


Places. Home. Geography. I’ve always struggled with understanding how a place I feel deeply connected to can continue to exist if I’m no longer there to witness it. Egocentric. Existential. Romantic.


We’re all born on one exact spot, and die in one exact spot. I could contemplate that for hours.


I orbit, revolve around places I love, never sure, never certain, that I will return, but maintaining a clear vision of each place. A feeling and a knowing.


In this way people are like places: they can only be in one spot at any one time, and they inspire a knowing, and tether me to the ground, even though my head drifts constantly into the clouds.



8 thoughts on “Pearson tarmac, en route to Iqaluit”

  1. Very emotional Thomas. Please be safe and enjoy your time in our great north. Andre would love that you are doing this and be soooo jealous. Love you! Can’t wait to read about your time up there.

  2. This is very touching, Thomas. It’s crazy to me sometimes how life just continues on despite everything – our presence or absence, or our emotional trauma over the death of a loved one. I am excited for your adventure to Iqaluit and I hope that you stay tethered to us back here!

  3. That’s beautiful, Thomas, and your dad speaks very warmly of you and your writings, your adventures, and the lengths you go for your craft. He misses you! Have a safe and wonderful time. You are often thought of. xoxo

  4. Thomas…………Beautifully written. Thank goodness for fb to keep in touch even though there are so many kilometers between us all ! Good luck starting a new adventure 🙂

    Love….Rebecca xo

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