Friday, 3 January 2020

3. Waiting

The plane touches down

a brief stop turns into a delay

then a longer delay

one by one, we trudge off

to airport land

YYC, YQR, YVR, whichever

We wait.

Adults stuck to leather chairs

Adults stuck to screens

I see babies among them

sucking thumbs

sucking fists

they don’t have agendas

they aren’t stuck yet


I spot a boy

an old-fashioned boy

with a ball cap on backwards

with rumpled clothes draped over

skinny elbows and bony knees

he swings his legs back and forth

as steadies his cell and sends off a text

He seems a boy in between

a shade less free than the babies in slings

a shade more free than the zombies on screens

he is teetering

soon he’ll learn that he is waiting


to get back on a plane

so life will resume once again

Years ago, at the advent of the smart phone era, I ended up on a flight that had a long and unexpected stopover. It quickly became apparent that we weren’t going to be moving on so quickly. This rather long and unplanned delay seemed to have an interesting effect on the passengers. It was if their lives had genuinely stopped once the plane had stopped, and that their lives would start up again, when they were up in the air and moving towards their destinations. I sat in a chair, and wrote down what I witnessed.

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