It’s been approximately 35 minutes since my flight departed.
Do not get me wrong, it is not that I have missed my flight, I simply ‘voluntarily’ exchanged seats with a rather important character than my own, and in this story, it is a character that takes form of an 8-year-old boy.
“It’s with great regret for us to inform you sir, but you’re the only single passenger in this flight that is without a baggage. We would like to apologize for the matter as it seemed that the flight has been overbooked and there’s a single kid that has not gotten a seat left.”
It was supposed to be an option. It is usually an option. But in my case, it was not. They would usually tell me it’s an option, but in the case, that had occurred before my eyes was them slowly suggesting that either way, I will end up getting removed from my flight to be redirected to another one.
The next flight would supposedly be at 2300 hours. Supposedly. Not including delays, weather, or personal matters such as the one I had participated in, though I doubt the chances of it happening twice in one night.
“I should’ve taken the morning flight.”
“As a sign of our apology, we would like to offer you a stay at our first-class lounge for as long as you like before the flight. We wish you a pleasant stay and a nice evening good sir.”
What’s left of my spirit for the flight home had gone down the pipes of a roaring airplane, shooting across the field, taking off into the unknown. As gracefully and smooth as it seemed, only those who are taking the flight could actually feel as the engine revved it’s might, with each and every single nut in the plane holds on for dear life. Metaphorical life. Passengers saying prayers, mantras, wishful thoughts and hope, holding each other hands, or singing songs of adventures as they ascend towards their temporal destination, the sky. In that small space of a few hours, or even more in accordance to the destination of said plane, the destination never mattered. It’s all about that flight. You eat, you sleep, you play and you pee and if you’re ever lucky enough, you die. A life’s cycle within short hours.
But there’s more. In it, you get peace. For once, peace was apparent. That moment when the airplane dimmed its light, this 400 tonnes airplane is elegantly gliding across the midnight sky, with subtle whispers of the wind knocking on through your oval-shape window, there’s nothing more comforting than knowing that life bullshitery has ceased to exist.
“I was told to come here.”
“Yes sir, again, we’re sorry for the inconvenience caused, we hoped it had not dampen your spirit in your adventure.”
“It’s fine, I was never in a hurry in the first place.”
It’s true. I doubt there’s anything to be gained from complaining than wasting valuable time and liquid.
The lounge, as impressive as the name sounded, brings forth a feeling of serenity through its decor and colours. A slightly dimmed gold luminescence enveloped the area with low hanging lights, brown sofas, tables, chairs and soothing music playing in the background. From the entrance of which I’m standing at, the place seemed wide, and systematically arranged with passengers spread randomly, each engrossed to their own manners. Each of these people brought a reserved feeling of solitary and without a doubt, requiring no company than what they had in their hands nor with what flashing to their eyes.
While I was searching for a place to rest, I found a particularly interesting subject, a lady, who seemed to be in her thirties, smartly dressed as most of the others here, with an exceptionally intelligent face, and an immediate recognizable air of seriousness as she stared long onto the vastness of the field. Unwillingly, I found myself seated next to her in such manners that exhibit my more than obvious curiosity.
“I’m sorry to disturb your evening, but it had come to my attention that you’re quite familiar. Had we met before?”
“I doubt it. I rarely forget a face. Though the probability of it happening is possible but you seemed like a man who I’d not forget past our first encounter and it is very unfortunate for me to say that this is in fact our very first.”
“How is it unfortunate? We never met.”
“Because if we did, then I had forgotten such a good-looking man had ever started a conversation with me. That’s a lost don’t you think?”
Her answers bring great surprise to me despite my brisk manners and how she reacted to it. Was it obvious that I had shown signs of advancement as I entered the room? I wondered to myself.
“Relax. I saw you over at the counter not too long ago. You were bumped from your flight did you not? It happens, I’ve been in such position before.”
“Such as now?”
I remarked. Of course, answering this, thought came late to me that she was in fact a first-class flier and all I did was offend her with such comment. But no, she did not, instead she chuckled.
“No, not now. I am a frequent flier here, hence my upgraded status. But truth to be told, I fell in love with these lounges because I too was once removed from a flight. Now, I find it appeasing. I get to relax and enjoy the view as much as I wanted in the comfort of my temporary home”
“That’s quite a statement. Are you working all over the country?”
“It’s a statement. That’s what it is, but it matters most to those who are living it. When you are in a plane, especially for long journeys, anything associated to it is pretty much home. You eat in it, you sleep, you play and you pee and if you’re ever in luck…”
“You die in it.”
“You die in it.”
This fast-forwarded banter felt delightful to me as I’ve always found myself as a man of confinement but it never occurred to me that someone may be the same in such perspective. Our talks sprouted from temporary topics of the airplanes and its majestic build to perhaps what I would call rather personal in the manner of favourite authors and quotations.
“And to answer your previous question, yes, I do work all around the country.”
She commented. She took a sip from her orange juice just beside her chair, and smiled as she offered me. I politely declined and lay back against my chair, settling down my bag against the legs and continued staring into the clock across the room.
She slowly unravels her wrist and looked briefly on her watch before settling her foot once again for comfort, positioning herself facing mine.
“What do you do again? You looked familiar. Have I seen you before?”
“I doubt it. I’m not exactly a high-ranking individual to be recognized by sight nor by attire.”
“Well, from your attire and figure of speech, no, the very air around you, I would say you’re definitely a writer but in the end, that is just my assumption.”
“It’s a correct one then. I do write. But I have not reach the point of recognition such prolific writers would, and I could assure you, I have not met you before.”
“No, no. But you have written a poetry compilation have you not? I’ve read it before. Quite fascinating. I admire your work you know.” She smiled.
She immediately, in her current position, recited a piece, a stanza to be exact, with one finger in air, eyes closed, with her very voice as the focus, she exhaled.
“Whence the two strangers, of the east and west met, in their conformity exchanging thoughts and matters, was it randomness that brought these two souls? or was it fate?”
“You memorized it.”
I knew of it of course. It was mine.
“Of course, the whole piece was about fated strangers.” She laughed and was proud of herself as how she had memorized the line.
“Well, do you believe in it?”
“In fate? or in the randomness of it?”
“I see it this way. It’s the same. Fate or chaotic nature of randomness, they do not matter in life. What matters is how such situation is seen and confronted. For example, I could’ve just taken the morning flight hence missing this chance to meet a favourite writer of mine, but I did not. Was it fate or was it simply random? I do not know, but I do know it was a pleasure knowing the mind behind the words that I read late at night.” She then took no more but a second and gestures me.
“A sudden thought came to me earlier even, that you might be just another poor soul who had been removed from his flight and would be best left alone and yes, if you wondered now, if I would have started a conversation with you if you hadn’t. When that takes place, that’s another question, was it fate or pure randomness? It’s not both. Either way, seeing you walked through that door brought forth a sense of curiosity within me and this conversation would still happen no matter which universe of the two we lived in.”
“That was refreshing. You should be a writer yourself.”
“I was never good with words nor writing. But my mind is a wonderland of thoughts and you are among the few who seen it. You should feel lucky.”
She gave it a thought and leaned it before continuing.
“So, tell me, it’s been a rather non-eventful day don’t you think. Delayed from your own flight, meeting this random stranger in a first-class lounge, having your own lines recited to you, will you ever in the farthest thought of your mind, write this scene in one of your books?”
“I am not sure. Would it make a good story? What would the plot be? It’s quite difficult to write it when you’re pressuring such ideals to be re-created back in context especially when I have no control on both of the characters. You are you, and I’m just a guy who got removed from his flight. There are no before and afters. Just two encounters coming from one scene to the next and bound to leave without ever meeting again.”
“That’s a harsh context. See it this way. Take me in as your ideal woman. Write about it, visualize its backstory and made way from there to here” She gestures the chair.
“And you, take yourself as a man of fate. Write it with those fingers of yours the thread of the story and sew a beautiful, heart-warming, love tale across the canvas that is paper. Isn’t it far easier when you see it this way?”
“It does. But you see, this prose another major problem in and out of context.”
“And that is?”
“That you are my ideal woman.”
She seemed shocked from my statement. And yes, even I was dumbfounded by my own remarks. What had happened to my own consciousnesses that made my mouth spouted such thoughts before such a lovely creature. Had the universe taken my thoughts into consideration, and materialize it in the physical sense that is my voice.
“Well, wouldn’t that make it more interesting?”
“I do not know and sadly, it is not up to me to decide.”
“For now, would you mind accompanying me for supper?”
She stood up from her seat and gestures towards the open dining table across the room. The long table were served under a dimmed lighted chandelier, with silverware spread symmetrically beside the array of condiments ranging from light snacks to heavy supper. Definitely first-class.
As I walked alongside her towards the table, something came to my attention which was the overwhelming theme of the lounge itself. It is not exactly something that bothers the mind but rather small sets of how the place is decorated and painted, or even smell that gave out that certain vibe, the vibe of timelessness. It struck to me that the lounge had barely any sort of indication of time except the main flight clock and digital numbers on headlights near the entrance. It had occurred to me that I’ve been talking to this lady for quite a while now and it’s almost ten-thirty. Time felt like it had not moved amidst our friendly chat but unfortunately it did and it is almost time for my flight.
After our brief supper, we both agreed that it is almost time for both of our flight, most likely the last flight of the day alongside other grey fitted gentlemen on a Thursday night. We walked towards the exit, and ‘logged-out’ the lounge before departing to our terminals which coincidentally was next to one another. Facing the huge information board, we stood there waiting for our announcements and I can’t help but turn towards her.
“Excuse me for saying this and I do hope that I am not being unpleasant, which I hope you would tell if I do, but there is a deep desire within me that wondered would we ever meet again?”
“I do wonder the same thing, but alas, it is not up to us. I’m going to be flying all over the country as soon as my project starts and I doubt I would be here nor anywhere for more than few months.”
She replied. She held up her ticket and showed me her destination which was definitely different from mine, wasn’t even close.
“Then allow me to suggest a proposition. I doubt this scene would happen again in the upcoming months, years, and probably never. So, I’m taking this opportunity to delve you into my mind for a change.”
“In the case of reality not governed by fate nor randomness as the one we’re living right now, I chose to create my own thread, my own story, and I would imagine it, no, I would make it that we meet again. But, here’s the twist, it’s not in real life.”
“You’re saying, we’ll meet again, our very characters would meet again in the pages of this book of yours?”
“That is an interesting story, especially to the both of us who actually knows the overall tale behind. But how does it help us in the future? How can I find you if the thought ever occurs?”
“Read my stories, my poetry. And you’ll find me in a place where no one would have thought of looking, or even know it was there in the first place.”
“And that place is?”
She wondered. I smiled along and gestures my head before continuing.
“Your mind, and hopefully, after you’re done reading the story, your heart.”
She smiled widely, and laughed covertly, hiding away her excitement before me.
“Very well Mr. writer. I await your next story.”
“Good. And when you do, you’ll know where to find me.”
“So, you’re putting your faith in me in hope someday I will try and find you? Is that confidence I’m seeing or is it pure chance?”
“See, it’s both. Either way, I know we would meet other again no matter which of the two universe we lived in.”
We both laughed whilst standing against the gate and shook our hand before leaving for the terminal. Few hours had never felt so short in my lifetime, and yes it does bring back the spirit of adventure that had lost before, but not for home, no, it’s for something else. Something deep inside me is eager to meet her again and one day, hopefully be lucky enough to witness that smile of hers once more.
My flight that night was a lonesome one, alone in my aisle with barely anyone else in front or behind me. Somewhere around sixty in this huge airplane for the midnight flight and as much as I would like to rest, my heart is still beating with exhilaration and I could not for the likes of me, fall asleep.
“It would be best to start now.”
I thought to myself. I slowly turned on the night light on top of me and pull out my pen and paper before succumbing into the alternate universe that is my writing.
It’s been months since that fateful night and I have heard no signs nor messages from or about her. As unfortunate as that sounds, hope still lingers and I know that someday we would meet again through some uncertain circumstances.
“You’ll see me live, you’ll see me succeed in my writings.”
Those were the words I wrote within the last pages of my book.
I have the most profound feeling that out there she’s currently reading it, among the quiet, reserved group of a lounge or a cafe, slowly stripping away the content of each page and devouring its story by the eyes, focusing on every nit-pick and details. Even the thought of her brings a warm feeling of comfort and company.
“Whence the two strangers, of the east and west met, in their conformity exchanging thoughts and matters, was it randomness that brought these two souls? or was it fate? Moments shared together no longer than a night, but they shared the sense of belonging in each other’s sight, Warm souls meeting each other, waiting for the next chapter to unfold, and in secret wishing to be to be together, their hearts screams for the other, to love and be loved, past the stories and jokes told, in their deepest desire they wished, may the universe last this moment forever.”
And here I am, back to where it started, this first-class lounge that happens to be the very basis of my wonderful tale. As much as I enjoy reminiscing and being nostalgic in the presence of it, it still lacks something or someone for that matter and the way I see it, the scene is still incomplete. It’s imperfect.
I found myself staring onto the vastness of the field again while my mind wanders off to the unknown, no, rather, to the known thoughts of her of where she is and what she is doing. Could it be that she’s also staring back at me, in that seat of hers, sipping away the orange juice in some airport lounge, waiting for the last flight of the day, and probably, for company.
Another hour before my flight.
“This is an interesting view, do not tell me you got bumped from your flight again?”
A familiar voice pierce through my gaze and it was a firm voice, and voice of confidence echoing behind me. And it could have been months, or even years, but I could not have forgotten to whom that voice belonged to.
“Now, sorry to excuse your fine evening, but your face rings a familiar scene. Had we met before?” She teasingly remarked. I found my face involuntarily smiles in the whisper of her question.
“I rarely forget a face and the probability of me forgetting one, especially one as beautiful as yours, would be close to zero. And if I did, then it has been my lost.”
“Charming. Well, where are you off now? Going to some exotic island to brainstorm another book? Or are you just jumping off in between lounges to find yet another random stranger to base a book from?” She chuckled.
“I’m going home.”
“Hmm, then we’re in the same boat.” She replied. She sat next to me, not opposite, but rather exactly beside me and laid her bag against the coffee table before taking out her ticket in one swift movement.
“Even better, we’re in the same plane.”
I can’t help but noticed the glaringly bold flight code as it matches mine.
“Wonderful. What are the chances of that?”
“Impossibly high. But then again, maybe it’s just how it’s supposed to be.”
“The universe is up to something.”
We took each of our moment, and silently continue our own business. I drank a bit of my water and stare into the nothingness again, not knowing what to say or what to do. In cases such as this, the plot usually starts with a close banter or a personal confession of the sort in order to get the story going, but I know too well the universe is not a story written by some person in front of typewriter. But it gave me sign, or rather a challenge, had it given me what I wanted or simply put me up a test to see how far I would work for it to happen?
An hour does feel long, it’s only been a few minutes since she arrived and time seemed to take its pace quite well. Maybe the best way is to start first and take the step into what I call ‘the plot’ of my life. Or if fated would have called it, ‘ours’.
“Hahaha, all right. Lead the way.”
She laughed and took my hand before setting off towards the dining table.
What the universe has set before me isn’t a scene, nor a story. Not even I, a writer myself could ever write about this, nor should but it is a beginning to an unknown story, a story that should be lived, instead of written.
Or both. Not that it matters now.