I arrived at the airport just in time for check-in. After my luggage had been checked in, I went up to the food court to have a snack while waiting for my flight to be announced.
I went into one that had brightly painted chairs that surrounded miniature tables and ordered a club sandwich, with a glass of juice. As I munched on my sandwich, I saw a pretty woman walking swiftly towards the check-in hall. She was tall and had beautiful caramel skin that complimented a figure we all want to have, but it just somehow eludes some of us.
She was dressed in a black pantsuit. Her feet were clad in a white leather sandal and she carried a white purse. She made a beautiful picture to look at. Just then I noticed an athletic young man running after her with a pained look on his face.
“Laide wait,” He said as he finally caught up with her.
“Is this how you are going to throw it all away? Please don’t do this. Let’s go home and talk about it”
She turned slowly and faced him and I could not see her face, but I could see his face, and it was contorted in feverish supplication to his departing lover.
“Biola, please don’t cause a scene here,” She said slowly.
“It’s not about you, I’m really sorry”.
She turned around and continued the brisk walk towards the security doors and he followed her with the same brisk walk, but this time he jumped in front of her and made her stop. He tried to take her hand but she pulled away, I could see her face now. Her face was blank and expressionless. He made to hold her hand again, but she pulled away further and said calmly “Get out of my way Biola and stop being dramatic”.
When he didn’t budge, her face took on a soft almost piteous expression, like the way you look at a hurting child. She took two steps and closed the gap between them. Slowly, she brought up her hands and took his face in her hands, and said something I could not hear. After saying it, she gave him a light kiss on the lip and walked away, leaving him standing there looking dazed.
He turned around to watch her walk to the security door to present her boarding pass before she disappeared through the door. He stood there for a few minutes without moving a muscle. He did not anything but stand there, staring at the door through which she had departed, with that dazed look still on his face.
I refused to engage in the unhealthy mental exercise of imagining the things that were going through his mind, so I stood up and went to him. I touched his arm gently and said “Hey would you like to sit down?” He nodded without looking at me and allowed me to guide him to my seat and he sat down like a man distraught.
“I cannot believe she left me. I cannot believe she could do this” He kept muttering to himself.
I sat there for a few minutes looking at him, thinking of some cliched anodyne to say to him, but my usually bright mind failed me. For lack of something to say that could assuage his pain, I asked solicitously “would you like to drink something?” He turned to look at me for the first time and nodded, “a brandy will do”. So I go and get him a small glass of overpriced airport brandy. He collects the glass from me while trying to smile. He takes a sip and takes a deep breath.
“Do you want to talk about it?” I asked. He shook his head.
Then he surprised me by turning to me and asking “why do bad things happen to good people? I AM A GOOD PERSON.” He said forcefully, almost like he was trying to convince himself.
Usually, I would have had a riposte to that question, but today my usually high IQ seemed to be vacationing in Seychelles. So I shrugged and gave him a patronizing smile. He sipped his drink again and sighed. After a few more minutes of sitting in silence, my flight was announced and I took his hands in mine, they were cold and shaking.
“Look at me,” I said to him. He looked at me like he was just seeing me for the first time. He had beautiful brown eyes, and they were full of pain.
“I won’t say that I know how you feel, because I don’t, but I think I have an idea. I need you to understand that it’s not wrong to cry. It may hurt so bad right now, but just take it one day at a time and you will be fine. She may come back, but don’t think about it. It’s difficult. But remember that feelings are like waves, we cannot stop them from coming, but we can choose which one to surf.”
My flight was announced the second time and I gave his hands a gentle squeeze and stood up to leave. He looked up at me and said “you make it sound so easy”. I smiled and said, “No it's not, the truth is, it will be very difficult, but you will get through it. Just trust yourself. I have to go; I hope you will be fine?”
He nodded and tried to smile again. I gave his shoulder a light squeeze and walked towards the same door through which Laide had disappeared earlier. “Hey, I never got your name” He called out.
I turn around with a slow smile and say “My name is Laide”.
I make a swift turn again and walk briskly towards the security door.