After a long flight
late, in diminishing light
coming home tonight.
I said it to her repeatedly: It’s morning already, my dear, not 2 a.m. She really didn’t listen. She was all set to hug the pillows, but instead she was sitting somewhat upright in an airport lounge, absent-mindedly observing the world go by. People of all colors, all denominations and from all corners of the world crossing paths briefly. The espresso machine was humming non-stop, singing its global song: wake up, it’s morning already.
That was of course true for some people, but I understood that for her it was still night, the Hour of the Wolf was slowly approaching. And yet for others, it was already late afternoon or even dinner time. That might have explained the gradual decrease in the liquid levels of the fine wine bottles on the drink counter, even when the clock on the wall showed 8 in the morning. Serve yourself – whatever your internal clock calls for. Her clock didn’t call for anything but sleep. But I was not in the position to serve her that, so I served her espresso and water. Over and over again.
A small minority of people clearly had slept in a bed that night, whether their own or someone else’s. Shower fresh and clear-eyed they rushed in and sat on the office chairs in front of the computer screens or plugged in their own gadgets in the little work cubicles. Doing some last-minute preps before meetings in another city while complementing their hasty breakfast with new selections. That seemed practical for the short-haulers, who were mostly, but not entirely, men.
For the many long-haulers like her, it was good that the lounge had some facilities. This particular one was fresh and boasted modern sleek designs. She was not really able to appreciate the quite spectacular avant-gardisim, but I noticed she woke up a little bit after splashing cold water on her face. It’s morning already, I repeated, you can have more coffee.
She had many more hours to kill and I noticed she was secretly dreaming of reclining lounge chairs, something like the La-Z-Boy design. She dozed off several times in the modern but uncomfortable leather chair. Her eyes shut and her head fell forward. Then she startled and woke up again a little. Repeat.
Every time she woke up, her neighbors had changed. Now a young couple spoke Hindi in the row behind her, a middle-aged man paced back and forth in front of her and had an argument in French on his cell phone, and yet another couple to her left spoke quietly in Arabic. Someone to her right snored loudly. She could hear an assortment of languages around her, some familiar some not. The world was adequately represented. And right there it appeared surprisingly peaceful. She could doze off once more. And I let her, somewhere in the world, at 8 a.m.