Showing up means you’ll be there when she lands, even if you’re early and she was explicit about when her flight was going to land.
It means you get the gifts of parking off to the side of the waiting point and watching travelers reunite at all manner of speeds: the slow zombie shuffle, the all-business cheek-peck and carry-on luggage clean-and-jerk, the extended-family flood-the-zone swarm.
And it means that when you see her gliding down the escalator, glassy-eyed and glum after hours in the air, she will never see you barreling bullet-time-stylee between bodies toward her.
All she will remember is you materializing against her, all unexpected arms carefully cradling you, ready to drive north — and then, after about fifteen minutes, exiting the highway at an unfamiliar area the instant you realize exactly why inbound city traffic won’t work, driving south again past the airport and east across the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge to the East Bay.
Later, when you’re home and your cat has finally deigned to remember her, and the two are curled up and softly snoring in tandem nearby, you can think about all of those songs you’ve been singing recently.
Hours later, you do the showing-up thing at a restaurant in the Temescal neighborhood of North Oakland.
It means you get to warm up by singing in public on a street-corner.
It means passers-by will look back as they pass, or pause respectfully and clap when songs end. It means getting your fellow choir-members to stand in a doorway and look a little like the louche, up-for-it entertainers they forget that they look like because they’re too busy with their open throats singing Bryan Adams and Paul Young and Peter Cetera and George Michael.
It means walking back to a semi-private room when the cake is brought out and crowbaring your mouth open and surprising the soft-rock out of someone celebrating turning 40 among friends and family.
And it means walking back to your car after a really good margherita pizza topped with arugula leaves and a couple of glasses of Linden Street Brewery Burning Oak Black Lager and a renewed appreciation for what can happen when you show up.