Sitting at the gate at the Wichita airport.
10 feet away
A uniformed man holds back tears
As his parents say “goodbye”
Hopefully not for the last time
Embraced in each others’ arms
He fidgets .
Adjusting his uniform
Glancing around nervously
Trying to be strong
One more comes around the corner
This one with a wife
Her shoulders already shaking with grief
57 minutes till our flight departs
57 minutes of agony
Followed by months, maybe more
And my biggest concern on this snowy day is whether or not I’ll make it to Buffalo or will have to work from Wichita, around my family, in a safe, warm house, for an extra day or so.