Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
It is an intensely long line at passport control. Flights keep arriving and people keep cutting. A tall man and I are both determined to stick to the vaguely orderly line, though streams of people march around us in a mob. The tall man says, “We must be the Americans, right? Single-file like a pair of suckers.” We aren’t even into the maze of silver bars yet. It’s been 20 minutes and we’ve moved about four steps.
A family from India stands in front of us, also waiting, until they see that we’re parked next to an open space that would put us ahead of the mob and into the lines ordered by the bars. At least we could stem the tide. The father mutters it to the grandmother, the set of boys in matching striped shirts get wind of the idea as well. They stare at the opening as their elders contemplate the move. We should go ahead of the people ignoring the line, after all. It would be just!
Grandma is remarkably spy. She hustles through first, then the father, then the boys, then their mother. Then the tall man from California nudges me to follow suit. He also steps through. We’re at least in the labyrinth now and the boys are delighted. They’re dying to keep cutting forward. The shorter of the two boys beams at me. “Come on! Let’s break some rules!” Yet, there isn’t much headway from that point. The wait is long and toasty. Tiny steps of arriving passengers, glares toward people who had cut in front of us before, chatting of the boys, unearthing of passports. I think of my father’s grandparents who came to America on a boat from Sweden when they were children. I think of that authentically long journey, and remind myself that it is a gift to have ready access to a protein bar and clean socks. And to be able to go on a trip to Turkey in the first place, on a whim, via an airplane, with good books and an ipod.
A toddler girl in a flowered dress and red shoes stops the slow procession forward. She gives up, crosses her arms, and begins to cry. I know that feeling. I would have been with her before, but now I am too busy counting my blessings.