22.3.08

On Coming to Amman and Such: Part II

"Last call to all passengers on flight EK902 heading to Amman. Please proceed to gate 14. The plane is boarding now." Bellowed the speaker

"Ok it's time." I mumbled to myself as I pushed myself into the waiting room, crowded with couples holding each others' hands, children chasing each other, babies sleeping in trolleys, Asian business men with feet resting on their briefcases and a lady exchanging business cards with a man whose left hand was dug deep in his pocket.

I opened the thick, paperback novel safely coating my passport and ticket. I handed the bulky Philipino attendant my boarding pass, who fed it into the machine and handed me a chipped boarding pass. As I walked past the gate, I got a familiar, eerie shiver in my spine. It is the feeling I get when I'm in a restaurant or café and leave without my keys, cell phone, or worse important documents.

Open book. Tickets, check. Passport, check. I felt my pockets. Keys, check. I felt my butt. Wallet, check. Alter ego. I picked my brain. Ummm where's my alter ego?

I looked back at Sami who was eyeing the board flashing Emirates logo, muttering the time and flight number.

"C'mon man. We'll be late. They're already boarding." I said straddling my laptop bag.

I pointed towards the fanatic group of people shoving and pushing eagerly headed to the place that they and me call home. People who in one way or another resembled me, shared the same heritage and traditions with me, yet at the same time were nothing like me. I quickly skimmed around for babies, wondering which one will maestro the orchestra of wailing children 5 minutes into the flight.

"I don't wanna go"said Sami
"WHAT?"
"I don't wanna go. I can't"
"Why not?"
"I don't belong there anymore. I just, I can't stand it there. It doesn't feel right. I've changed"
"Don't be silly, we had a great time last summer, what's wrong with you?"
"I can't stand the familiarity, the how-have-you-beens, the could-have-dones. The questions, the meandering, the picking. The whys, the who's, the where's."

He fell silent for awhile

"I want to be alone."

I looked at the plane emblazoned with Emirates airlines logo, parked outside, with a tube stuck into its guts feeding huddling people and their luggage into it, like an umbilical cord feeding an unborn child.

"Look man. I cannot miss this flight. I already told your parents that we are coming and they're expecting us. Or me. Whatever."

"I know. Say hi to them. Will miss your mom's food. But I just can't do it."

"Sir, are you getting onto the plane?" interjected the Philipino attendant.
"Yes, yes I am" I said defiantly.

I walked into the empty waiting room and through the tunnel, my heavy steps echoing against the walls, my bag beating against my hip. I sat on my seat, beside the window, fastened my seat belt and listened to the instructions. In case of emergency, the plane has 6 emergency exits, here, here and here. In the unlikely event of ..I mumbled after the virtual waitress on my screen. An isle across from me, sat a green-eyed brunette, with a gold chain proudly displayed on her chest. She was looking directly at me, long after I broke eye contact.

Even alter-egos, in make-believe worlds, need a break.

9 comments:

Moey said...

I feel your friend Sami, I myself changed, I miss Kuwait so much and whenever I go there, I don't want to return... sometimes, home is where you want it to be.

sara said...

AGAIN, FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME IN MY HEAD & THE SECOND TIME OVER HERE:

I BELIEVE YOU SHOULD WRITE OFFICIALLY SOMEWHERE & GET YOUR WORK PUBLISHED!

And hey, were there any babies entertaining your flight?


P.S. No where would be better than a place close to your parents!

mab3oos said...

It's been almost a month since you last wrote. غص بالك ما أبطئك
But still funny.


p.s. Sara (look above) has a crush on you!

inmotion said...

Give sami a break. Let him be who he has to be. Who he needs to be. Who he wants to be. How else will he survive the definitions and the who how and where how else will he live up to his potential. Be a friend to him. Be kind to him.

rosh said...

Sometimes you just gotta connect with your roots. I grew up in the UAE, Indian & English hreritage - at times I have no clue who/what I am - except that I am fine being home in the UAE or just kicking it at the world's most mixed breed confused city, NYC.

Connecting with the roots, bring calm, you may not otherwise realize.

Safe journeys and splurge away at mom's home cooking :)

Desert Princess said...

..and now you're back. At least you made it in one piece!

Expated in Dubai said...

@Moey, True dat..
@Sara, Thanks.. I really hope to get some work published in the long run..
Actually, amazingly, there were no babies. There were some college kids back from some camp but they were equally annoying.
@mab3oos, Yes I do realize it's been a month, but some of us have real lives and jobs to tend to :)
Thank you for pointing out who has a crush on me. But I do believe you must have better things to do rather than wandering around the wide web pointing who crushes on who :)
@inmotion, I hear you :)
@Rosh, yeah I hear you. And I did splurge on home-cooked food and mid-day siestas.
@Desert Princess, I survived worse things than a vacation at home.

Anonymous said...

Oh.. my my.. I thought I was the only one thinking to abandon her kids in the airplane and stay far far away from Amman.. but I still go back! You summarized it for all of us.. thank you for the great writing..

Expated in Dubai said...

We all do come back, it can't be helped.. thank you for reading