Robert checked his watch. No, it was still time. Plenty of time. Still, there was no need to wait any longer. He ran outside, started his car and headed south for Marienhof. It is a very familiar stretch of road; he has been driving it to work every day for over 30 years now. But this day, when he wasn't working, it took longer than ever.
When he was a little boy, his dad sometimes took him to Marienhof to go "planespotting". They could just stand there together for hours in silence, just watching the planes land and take off. It wasn't much of an airport back then, and most of the planes were American military planes, stationed at Marienhof Air Force Base after World War 2. But every now and then a passenger plane, like a shiny Boeing 707, arrived at the airport. It was moments like those that made the "planespotting" worthwhile and trigged Roberts interest for planes. When he got a job at the airport, it was like a dream come true.
He entered the green fields of Marienhof Nord. Robert put the memories away. Shortly, a very special lady was arriving at the airport.
- Ah, the 5th Wing is in, Robert thought to himself as he passed the air force base. The grey F-15s were lined up at the tarmac with military precision. The old part of Marienhof, the old terminal building, is still in use and serves as an Air Force Base.
- Just like when the Americans were here, Robert mumbled. The only difference is that no passengers arrive at this terminal anymore.
As Robert closed in on the airport, the green fields were replaced by big warehouses and hordes of trucks. Being the largest and busiest airport in the country, tons of goods are transported in and out every day. Just above the motorway, a locomotive was pushing some tanker trucks into the fuel depot.
- It looks as she's already here, Robert said to himself. His heart beat faster. Was he nervous? No, not really nervous, just eager to meet a very special lady. A lady he had been looking forward to meet for years.
Finally at the airport, Robert parked his car at the staff parking. He jumped on a Terminal Shuttle Bus and headed for Terminal 2. Once there, he spotted a friend over by the catering trucks.
- Has the plane arrived? Robert asked. His friend nodded. This was unbelievable. The plane had landed. She was here!
It is in situations like these working at an airport could be a real advantage. Robert knew that he was now able to get as close as it gets. Closer than his father was ever able to take him. Closer than those inside the terminal. Closest. Within touching distance.
Robert found a pick-up truck and headed for Terminal 1. His very special lady was now only seconds away. It felt like being a little boy again!
After a short, but still way too long drive, Robert parked the pick-up at the north end of Terminal 1, the Lufthansa gates. And there she was, waiting for him.
Robert gazed at the gigantic marvel. 73 metres long, and with a wingspan of nearly 80 metres..! Seeing something like this up close gave the term "planespotting" new meaning.
She was a very special lady indeed.
He couldn't wait to get back home to tell his wife.
Share Robert's excitement!