Slightly tired male,  late twenties,  a little heavier than he probably should be, shuffles off Aer Lingus Flight 136 into Dublin Airport.  Dressed in a pair of jeans, navy blue wool sweater and long, WW1 style great coat.  Wrapped around his neck is a blue scarf, and on his back a worn leather satchel.  He is entirely too warm,  and questions why he thought he’d be outside more between Chicago and Dublin. 

After clearing the usual, but always surprisingly casual security checks, off he goes into the swarm of other folks going back to their homes for Christmas.  Families with excited kids, and visibly stressed parents awkwardly blunder through the middle of the airport avenues, as only 4 people who are all physically attached to each other can do. The rest do their best to fill in the spaces,  meandering in and out of each other’s footsteps. 

There’s a bittersweet feeling, and you can see it on his face.  The excitement and anticipation of seeing those he’s missed,  the sadness of leaving behind loved ones to travel (an occupational hazard for those who live abroad, you're always leaving someone, no matter where you go),  and the deep sorrow of knowing someone wouldn’t be attending this year. Or any year from now on for that matter.  There’s also an uncertainty as to how he is going to deal with that sorrow over the coming days.  

With a couple of hours to kill before his next and final flight, he entertains the idea of having a drink,  despite it being 5AM in Dublin.  He also knocks around the notion that it’s 11PM back where he got on the last plane, and perhaps acceptable - taking that and other things on his mind into consideration.  Sense prevails, although not always, and he turns to a coffee instead.  

He’ll be home soon.  Maybe he’ll lose a little weight there.