‘’American Airlines Flight C370 will be ready for boarding in 15 minutes, we apologize for the delay’’
If you’ve travelled as much as I have since the tender age of 1, airports and flights quickly turn into a black and white question, you either hate it or you love it. For me it was definitely the second option; there is something special about being in an airport, regardless of all the commotion, the security checks, the waiting hours, the overly priced food and everything in between. An airport is a transition zone, a place you know you go to so you can leave a few hours later and head somewhere else. Everyone is a stranger, and everyone is going somewhere, in a few minutes or in a few hours. Sometimes you meet people who share similar flights, destinations, or even missions, and sometimes you do a 12-hour transit and you don't even talk to the flight attendant. Every voyage is different, and so is every destination, even if you've been there before.
I glanced at my watch and the arms were just about to lock in at midnight. The hallway in the boarding gates was well lit, but seeing people stretched out on the benches sleeping made me wonder if someone was going to turn the lights down. Upon observing people lining up to get into the airplane It seemed to me that most of them looked very exhausted or tired, and we’re just about ready to hit the sack inside a can of metal flying up in the air at over 700 kilometers per hour, a peculiar bedtime situation.
I’ve never been one to sleep during flights. Even as kid I remember during family vacations my mom used to mix some sleeping powder in my morning bowl of cereal before we went to the airport. It was a timing thing she’d tell me years later, done in a way so I’d be drowsy before we sat down, and snoring by the time the wings had lifted off the ground... But don’t get her wrong, she didn't do it because I was a menace at 10,000 feet up in the air, but more so to lighten the extra load of having 4 young kids all awake at the same time on an overnight flight. At least this way it was one down, three to go. The truth is it didn’t work very well on me. I think it was because I was always fascinated by the first light when the morning hit the windows in the cabin. I don’t remember the first time I saw it exactly, but ever since I've been travelling I always look forward to that single moment when the line on the horizon starts shimmering that first glimmer of clay orange and Yves Klein blue, along with all the different tones in between. It’s a moment that I can only describe as pure, unintentional, and absolutely true in every way. The earth spins around, and in every cycle the sun steps out and back in to center stage, to fill it’s neighbor with its radiant influence of heat, life and death. Every cycle brings about a different set of lines, colors and hues to an otherwise repetitive globe that sits and spins around itself. It’s the feeling of seeing something new for the first time and feeling like anything can happen, like any path can be traversed and any choice can be made. It is hope and freedom synthesized into a single moment.
‘’American Airlines Flight C370 will now board, please have your documents ready for inspection. We apologize for the delay’’
I looked at the line of people already filling in to get inside, I was in no rush to do the same. The image in my mind of that first light took me away from there for a moment. Living in this now where sometimes it feels like there is a larger pandemic present in the minds and spirits of people, I can only cherish the idea that sooner or later that first light will shine through and light the way for a new dawn, and much in the same way it came, it will fade away, and come back again. As I thought about this I noticed the line had nearly but disappeared, I must have dazed off for longer than usual. I set an alarm for 7 am, grabbed my suitcase and walked toward the gate, documents clutched in my left hand.