(post from 5.26)
Here’s the picture:
Venizelos Airport, terminal A. I’m standing with my arm up holding the passenger sign. Everyone is standing, looking toward the doors, waiting. The people in the very front are shoved so tightly together against the bar seperating us from the portal to the arriving passengers you can smell the shampoo in the hair of the person in front of you (or lack thereof.) There is a woman, what we call “a whole lotta woman” standing in front of me. She has on a strappy red dress and sandals. Her hair is wild and bleach blonde. Her fingers and toes are painted to the pantone shade of the sunglasses holding back that mighty mane. She’s holding a plastic yellow bag on her arm and keeps standing on tippy toes every time the doors part.
All of the passengers are watching the doors anxiously. They always do. The people who are waiting for arrivals have this electricity. They’re in the now, because NOW might be when THEY come out, whoever THEY happen to be.
The taxi and limo drivers, by direct contrast, are lined up a good 600 meters back with their signs held crooked and angled to the ground. They’re sipping their iced coffees apathetically. There is no sparkle to their waiting. You can see why I choose to be with the mess in the front.
I, too, always get a bit anxious about half an hour in. All of the things that might have gone wrong are being carried across the stage in my mind, on giant cue cards by women wearing high heeels and plastic smiles.
“DIDN’T GET ON THE PLANE.” is the one carried by the brunette in pink sparkles.
“THEY’VE LOST THEIR LUGGAGE” in blue spandex.
“YOU’RE AT THE WRONG TERMINAL” and this one is carried by my mother in a white nightgown and Donald J. Pliners.
None of them were accurate, but your mind starts playing funny tricks on you when you’re waiting for someone.
Now the crew of one of the flights is coming out. All of our heads turn in synchronization, watching the members, studying their uniform, listening to their accents. Are they the ones that flew the plane of MY people?
And then the door stay closed for what seems like an agonizing number of hours, but is actually maybe ten minutes.
They open. The crowds start coming out, and the squeals begin.
“OOHH AGAPE MU! EISAI ETHO!!” (My love, you are here!)
And the running and the singing and the tears, and the hugs.
Remember our woman stuffed into the strappy red sundress? She breaks into a full on sprint and tackles a man coming out with a gray ponytail. She’s weeping. He’s laughing and kissing her, which she returns once, twice, ten times, and then she stands back and reaches into her plastic sack. She blesses him and releases her hand over his head letting a shower of rose petals fall on his hair and shoulders, falling into pink puddles around his feet.
The doors open. Screams, crys, two woman are full on sobbing as they rush to the embrace of an older couple. They’re so loud that everyone is watching this reunion. I’m about to cry myself, and I don’t even know their story! The enthusiasm and emotion is just contagious.
The doors open and an elder couple comes out, instantly rushed by an elegant blonde with a toddler hanging on her neck. They speak in the universal “love” language that is so high pitched and familiar only unto themselves you cannot even gauge what language they’re speaking.
They’ve all left and I’m standing with my sign. The doors open and my group comes out, smiling as they see me there, expecting. It’s a pity, but as I have no reason to cry or run, I just return the smile.
“Hello! Welcome to Greece! Did you have a nice flight?”
Sent them to the bathroom, for water, etc, and standing there alone with their bags, reached down and picked up a handful of the rose petals, still on the ground after the lady in red floated through the exit with her long lost love.
"But that is not the question. Why are we here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come."
- Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot