Dad left yesterday. Soon he will be over 4000 miles away. I won’t see him for months. This is the expat burden. No popping round to friends and family for coffee or Sunday lunch. No casual meet ups at the cinema or spontaneous trips to the seaside.
I dropped Dad off at Austin Bergstrom Airport at 6.15 am for his flight to New York yesterday. I am driving away, back down Highway 183 to home, sipping my coffee out of my insulated cup, when I realize that I have no idea when I will see him again.
Returning, somewhat sadly, to the house I see traces of his time with us everywhere. Firstly in the heat that hits me when I walk through the door. In his months here we constantly had to turn the heating up to stop him being cold. Then, when I go to watch my show on Amazon, there are subtitles on the TV. He struggled to hear it. I wash up my cup and see the insulated flask he used for milk his for his beside coffee maker upside down on the kitchen drainer. Going up to his room I find a desk full of books. There are Talcum powder sprinkles in the bathroom. Foot prints up the stairs and soft fruit in the fridge drawer. He imprinted himself on our house.
I miss him already. But I make myself think of the future and the hot Texas summer days by the pool and at Barton Springs that we can share when he comes back. That is the pleasure of being an expat being able to share the unique delights of where you live with those you love. Next time there will be no Arctic Winds or sub zero stay home weather days. I hope. But this is Texas and who knows!