Abu Dhabi – Airport drama

19 December, 2010

6.35am – Abu Dhabi

I watch the Abu Dhabi sunrise with a handsome boy, my laptop and a cup of hot tea. I think about life.

The spots of orange, coral and yellow peek out prominently from beyond the empty desert skyline.
The handsome boy is a mirage – he is my absent colleague who missed the flight, my laptop and myself are here for work, the tea is English Breakfast and I have nothing to say about life.

I see an Arabic man in full traditional headdress having a cup of Starbucks – I take a mental snapshot – there is so much culture here to remember. I also think about taking a real picture but it might have appeared rude and invasive. (Although I should just take the damn picture and then tell the offended Arabic man that, without my camera, I am actually already rude and invasive.)

I walk on.

“Where is gate 33?”

I politely smile and nod as I bother someone who looks like he works here. I shall call him Mr Beard. Mr Beard gestures to the end of the room – I make a mental note and a mental groan for it is a long way away.
I amble down the long walkway en route to gate 33.

Long. Walk. Way. Away.

I hope Mr Beard is not wrong and I spy with my little eye… The airport lounge is full of sleeping people, strewn all over the carpet floor like beach bums on a warm Singapore sunny day.

I grip my camera but my attention jerks to a tiny boy chasing a bouncing ball – he giggles and cuts in front of me. My bags fall and I almost fall over the barely 2-year old, but no harm is yet done and I pat his little head.

As I gather my various bags and items, I feel lonely and think about K, my colleague who missed this flight just hours ago. Somehow, his brilliant mind and usually organized demeanor had failed him and I distractingly recall us in the middle of the check-in lounge in Dublin airport, kneeling in front of his baggage as we executed a frantic search on every inch of his pockets and thumbed through every document in his bag.

We searched and searched like it was life and death, but we could not for the life of him find his passport.

After what felt like forever (and forever is a long time), he ran his frustrated fingers through his hair and announced to me that he had kept his passport somewhere safe… back in the apartment safe.

We look at his watch – the apartment was half an hour away, and the check-in was closing in 20 minutes. There was no one to “save” him now.

He uses my phone to make a number of calls as I pack up his needs and the clothes that he would be using tonight…

Time to go back to Dublin. Time and air ticket was lost, slipping through his finger tips.

You should have seen the way his face fell when he realized home was so close yet so far.

A picture is worth a thousand words… I wish I took a picture.

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