Ironically, I woke up gently on our last day. I was still tired, but I wasn’t as groggy as I had been for the past week. I think it was somewhat from the dread of leaving. I spent a solid ten minutes awake but with my eyes shut, covers pulled up just below my chin. I contemplated the principles of the time space continuum and how they applied to my current theory: maybe if I didn’t get up, I didn’t have to leave. I peeked open my right eye, glanced at the clock on the bedside table, and watched the numbers change from 8:52 to 8:53, eradicating my theory. Damn. Exhaling heavily through my nose, I accepted the inevitable, thrust my covers off, and started packing.
After we somehow managed to re-compress all of the items that we had strewn across our hotel room into our suitcases, we piled said suitcases into the Tahoe and drove over to Gary and Libby’s for the last time.
Greg had left presumably around 3 – Megan had explained last year when she had visited that there were two ways to get out of Cordova: by plane, or by ferry. The ferry departed the dock at 4 am and 4 pm. Megan stated that when Greg explained this to her the previous year, she had laughed, assuming he was joking about the 4 am ferry. He wasn’t joking.
It was unusual having such dwindled numbers in the cozy home, yet as soon as we walked through the door Libby offered to make us breakfast as if everyone was still around. “Are scrambled eggs with smoked salmon okay?” Okay? It felt like every meal we had been offered since we had arrived had been a delicacy, and I was consistently shocked at the suggestion that we would be anything other than entirely okay with whatever food they offered us. We were just constantly thankful they were offering us anything in the first place.
Not at all surprising, I am confident in saying that the smoked salmon scrambled eggs were the best scrambled eggs I have ever had in my entire life. I probably had at least three helpings before I decided I should cap myself before someone commented on my gluttony. I poured myself another cup of coffee instead and took my place back at the table, admiring the view of the mountains across the lake that they had from their kitchen table.
We had an awkward amount of time on our hands, as our plane took off at 1:32 from Cordova, so we sort of just shuffled around while we watched our time dwindle down, feeling the sadness sink in with the passing time. When it finally got down to about an hour before departure, we packed our things into the car, drove out to the airport, and said our final goodbyes to our two hosts who had become family in those few short days. I thought about the contrast over my arrival and my alien handshake with Gary to how upon our departure this was replaced instead with a warm hug. It felt strange waving after them as they drove away, but we had promised we’d be back next year and intended to keep the tradition ongoing. Cordova was about as cross country as it gets, but we knew we’d always have a second home there. That thought in itself was enough of a reassuring token; a reminder that we would always feel connected despite how far we actually were away from one another.
We boarded the plane, looking somberly out the window for the last time at the uninhabited Cordova landscape as it disappeared into the distance. We had a quick 40 minute flight, then eight solid hours in Anchorage ahead of us with two major plans: The Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center, and Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria.