I knew I was at an American terminal the moment I reached it. I knew this not only by the understated wall-sized eagle majestically painted flying past a background of American monuments, and the preamble of the constitution fluttering softly in calligraphy down the opposing wall. No, all of these things were forgivable, expected even, what struck me were the people. On the floor in front of me were two women who were ‘full-figured’. I sat there sobbing eating my bag of chips and my heart broking a little more with the crunch of each flake. A rugged man, whose skin seemed to be graying with his hair came over to one of the large woman sprawled on the terminal floor “Ya’ll have your passports?” he said scratching his army tattoos as he reached down and pluck one of the woman’s passports. “NA-OH!” She exclaimed “it’s a terrible picture of me!” My eyes slide over her in my displeasure, Americans are far too loud, it was something I had forgotten. While feeling upset, relishing this annoyance I wondered how much the people in the terminal managed to look less like humans and more like a ball of play dough that had been violently flung at the floor. My sadness had so quickly jerked to anger. “Com’on” the tattooed man said “its smokin’…wish you could see your bellybutton ring, though.” As my pride cringed with the seething urge to interject my heartless, if not overdramatic opinion; I contemplated how fitting that this place was called a ‘terminal’.
I was in for the long haul: the 17 hour flight to California. On my 12 hour flight to Chicago I squeezed my way past a friendly haggard man, wearing round glasses and a button down T-shirt, on his legs were kyakies. As is unavoidable on these trips he began a conversation with me. I can’t remember what he began with but I do remember that I interrupted him in a conversation ending roar of sorrow, most of which came cascading through my nasal cavities. The man offered some sort of confused reassurance to me calling on both the powers of metaphor and Kleanex both of which I refused. The man, only slightly half heartened by my denial of his invitation to listen to him brag about his holiday turn his gaze to his knees and back around to the man who had sat down while I was sobbing. I saw the middle man’s hopefully eyes slashed with sadness as the man in the aisle seat began to laugh unnecessarily loud at the in flight NBC sitcom on the headrest sized television in front of him. ‘This poor middleman’ I thought to myself, strapped in between comedy and tragedy for the next bumpy 12 hour flight.