Little Universe

An international airport is like a little universe. It has its own energies—vibrant, alive, teeming. It breathes people in; it breathes people out. Sometimes the breath comes in bursts, almost hyperventilating. Now, as i sit and await my flight home, its breath is quiet, slower, more steady. I watch the people come and go. I am fascinated. I surreptitiously study their clothing, their luggage, and most of all, their expressions. Some are stylish and elegant; others look like they just stepped out of bed. Some look excited; others, harried and anxious. Some walk with the swag of a seasoned traveler; others, with the trepidation of a first-timer. Many, many faces; many, many looks. Always, I try to look out for my own kind. Even if I don’t know them, nor talk to them, just seeing them around relieves some of the anxieties of traveling alone abroad. The minute I hear Tagalog or a Philippine dialect, I heave a sigh of relief. Of course there is no certainty that the Filipinos will rush to my aid should anything negative happen to me, but it is a good feeling to have faith that if need be, they will do so, if only because we are kababayans. In that long stretch of waiting, rather than playing games or reading on my phone or iPad, I spin tales about the passengers around me—where they’re going, where they came from, why they are traveling. I imagine who they left behind, who they are meeting. I wonder if they wonder about me too. I play a solo guessing game at what is inside their hand-carried luggage. Even the luggage tell their own stories. Some look like they been on and off planes often. Others look spankingly new. They usually match their owners. And in my weaving of stories-with-no-endings, the airport and Time become my friends. Then, the highly-anticipated call for boarding breaks the silence of that long wait. My heart dances. Home is just a few clouds away. I bid adieu to that little universe I shared for a moment in time. Till my next trip…

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