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A Song for Travel

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In the midnight hour of my last night in Boston – a night I was never intending to spend in that fine city – a song is played, and it’s the perfect song portending travel. It is a song from my childhood (I was raised on Peter, Paul, and Mary – and they would be the first band whose concerts I would attend, thanks to my Mom.) It’s ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’, the meaning, scope, and emotion of which I could not access as a kid, so it didn’t become a favorite until many years later, when I was old enough to appreciate, to know, to understand. Part of me wishes I didn’t like it so well, that I didn’t know so much, but there’s no way to unlearn heartache. Besides, the beauty of this song more than makes up for it.

All my bags are packed I’m ready to go
I’m standin’ here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breakin’ it’s early morn
The taxi’s waitin’ he’s blowin’ his horn
Already I’m so lonesome I could cry…
So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go…

Most people, myself included, don’t enjoy saying good-bye. Mine are usually curt and quick, and it’s one of the only times when I’m truly glad to give a hug. You never know. You just never know… I try not to look back, I hate the good-bye wave, and if I could get away without saying anything and seeming rude, I would attempt it. Why prolong the sadness?

There’s so many times I’ve let you down
So many times I’ve played around
I tell you now, they don’t mean a thing
Every place I go, I’ll think of you
Every song I sing, I’ll sing for you
When I come back, I’ll wear your wedding ring
So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go…

Oddly enough, I don’t recall this song playing a part whenever I left a paramour. It only resonated with friends and family, the people who have remained in my life through the years, and in leaving them I left the ones who knew me best, who knew me at all, and perhaps that’s why it was always sadder.

Now the time has come to leave you
One more time let me kiss you
Close your eyes I’ll be on my way
Dream about the days to come
When I won’t have to leave alone
About the time, I won’t have to say
So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh baby, I hate to go…
Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go.

 

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