Airports are funny places. I almost forgot I was still in America as I ate my sushi. I almost forgot to tip. I might as well have been in Asia, already home. We’re all on our way somewhere, not staying for too long.
“Is that a speaker?” they asked me.
“It’s a mic”.
“Yes”. And I was surprised by the approving looks security gave me. Maybe because I’m exiting the US rather than entering it they didn’t feel the need to treat me like a criminal- go terrorize some other country. Or maybe it’s the dress.
I find my seat between two big people in the last row. I’m not too pleased about the dude on the left with his tuna sandwich and having to lift the dude’s arm to plug in my headphones. I turn the hoody around and cover my face, like a fencing mask. Right Dude interrupts with a breathy chuckle and a comment to Left Dude: “just like my first date”. Ha Ha. I take the hoody off. I sleep face down on my personal pillow and ignore every flight attendant.
I watch two films. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is very good. Wonderful narration. I love older adults (old people) and I love films about them. I’m particularly fond of Mum from the James Bond movies (Judi Dench) and Dad from About Time (Bill Nighy). I fall in love with the culture, the vibrancy of the fabrics and spices, the beaming faces, the honking scooters, squabbling vendors, the children and the orange dust. I’m reminded of The Hundred-foot Journey, another amazing film set in India. These films depict a sincerity in their relationships, this respect and familial piety that’s hard to come by these days, especially in the western world. British dramas/ comedies and excitable Indians do not disappoint.
I watch While We’re Young and what strikes me is this: Jamie looks like this guy I knew. I met him one summer night, whilst cooking with the door open. I heard guitar strums, a voice, and I followed the sound to the roof. His friend was smoking, reclining on a deck chair under the moon. I sat on the floor, listening. I don’t know where he is these days. The last I heard from him, he was in hospital. I miss him. I’d tell him again if I could reach him.
It’s dark, aside from a few movie-lit screens. The Dudes are sleeping. And I think about you. Because I could’ve been on my way to see you that time you invited me. I could’ve stayed the weekend and for a moment imagine how I would’ve felt if this was it. How I’d shoot you a text when I landed with giddy fingers. The moment I’d see you again- how we’d both light up. And then I’m thinking about you sitting next to me, with the arm rests pulled back and the reading lights off. I think about your hands. And then I force myself not to think at all.