The cold pierced my skin like a thousand long needles. Reaching through three layers of warm fabric, it touched my arms and legs and chest. The evening had just begun to unfold, the sunset ceasing. Living in Austin was not as summery as I had expected it to be, but I suppose it was my fault to expect the elegant winter months to be summery. These months always had such pride behind them, almost a haughtiness. The other months certainly couldn't compare to the "high and mighty" nature of December. The black sky was clear, the darkness looming over me. But no matter, because the chill had no effect on my warmth-longing body, for the adrenaline coursing through my veins distracted me. Enough to forget the crisp nature of the air. Not enough to forget that it was December, though, because I could not help but notice how exquisite the Austin Bergstrom Airport looked during this winter month.
Austin is quite a boring city. The greenery is bland, and it never excited me. The roads are narrow and the trees sparse. But that day, none of it made a difference. Austin seemed like the most magical city of all to me. I walked into the automatic doors of the airport. The warmth hit me, and before I knew it, I was running. That feeling when the excitement inside repels every other emotion was rare, especially one of such vigor. That was the feeling inside my heart, inside my veins. Along with the potency, it was, somehow, the purest thing I could have every felt. As if fragrant petals of a red rose were blown around by a fresh, gentle breeze. As if tall, lush grasses swayed softly while the serene melody of a songbird twinkled. It felt like when you wake up in the middle of the night and look out the window to see a crescent moon surrounded by a thousand stars. That purity was something I hadn't felt in a long time. December brought that sort of elated rush. December still does.
December also seemed to ensure a packed airport. People were rushing about, some waving goodbyes, some standing in anticipation, many hugging loved ones who were jet-lagged from a long flight. I was here for that as well. Waiting for a beautiful family of three to join my own, especially so I could hug my beloved cousin close to me. Certainly, the aura of the airport helped with the good mood. The management had hung green, ornamented wreaths all around the ground floor. The occasional string of lights tied up the look. The finished sight was truly festive. Somehow, even though Christmas music wasn't playing, I could hear the gentle bells jingling, joyous voices singing carols.
Magic seemed to flow through the entire setting, making sure to weave through each and every person. The magic kept the automatic doors open, ensuring someone was always entering or leaving. Nobody seemed to be alone. Couples walked as if in a dream of their own, bodies close and embraced. Families rejoiced, ecstatic to be united once more. Children, faces pink from the cold and clad in huge jackets, clung to their parents' hands but smiled at everything, every little thing bringing joy to their eyes. The magic had certainly reached every heart.
Outside, the darkness had set. I searched for a clock, eager to see the time nearing that of the scheduled landing of a specific flight. I couldn't wait anymore! The December magic was a drug, and I was addicted. I looked around even more, wanting to see the happiness so many people felt during this time. By the baggage claim, I saw many people tapping their feet, wringing their hands, and biting their nails. They all still had a smile on their faces, though, looking around at the euphoria in the atmosphere. I chuckled a little, because I remembered anxious I had felt when my bags hadn't arrived. But today, I wasn't here for that. I was here to meet three people I loved very much. Three people who had never been to Austin before, as a family. And I was thrilled to see them here.
I kept my eyes on the two escalators heading down, the only exit for people leaving national flights. I remember becoming like the people by the baggage claim, tapping my toes and fiddling with my fingers. I smiled at the little children in the airport, knowing I would soon see another just like them. My eyes scanned the escalators and the flight of stairs between them. And again. My third time, I spotted them. A tall man; a slim woman; and, in her arms, a little boy of 3 years. His face had a smile that lit mine up, my eyes shining and my lips spread in a grin. I tapped my parents and pointed at the escalator.
"Look, there they are!"
My family stood along with me, and we all fast-walked to the bottom of the escalator. By this time, my uncle had seen us. He waved, beaming, and gently turned my cousin's chin so he'd see us too. My cousin, quite negligent, randomly smiled. He hadn't glimpsed me just yet.
They reached the bottom, and my dad took their suitcase. We all bombarded each other with "Hi's" and "How are you's" and "I'm great's." My cousin practically jumped from his mother's arms and ran in circles. He seemed ecstatic to be here with us. The joy in him radiated. I was laughing and I knelt to his height. Saying a quick 'Hello', I crushed him in a hug! I doubt he knew anything about what was going on, but he remembered me from when we last met. He was all smiles that evening.
I remember feeling like I was floating on clouds. The experience itself was wonderful, but the fact that it happened during December and not another month made it different. December was perfect.
It was like magic!