I was looking down at the reflections on the freshly waxed linoleum floors. The volume of the reflection kept increasing. I looked up to see the bundle of people huddled over the huge glass doors with “ARRIVAL” written on top. This was my favourite part of the job. Observing this. Any moment now, the doors will slide open and a swarm of people will enter; each with their own story. You know how sometimes when you're stuck in traffic you would look at the people around you and try to guess their stories to pass the time? I liked to do that at the airport.
The silence before the doors opened was always deafening. There were people peeking beyond every few seconds or walking aimlessly while checking their watches and phones. Then, the first group of people would walk through those doors. Slowly, the energy in the room would shift. It was like when the school bell rings and the kids run through the gates into the arms of their parents. There were the usual group of people among this bunch. I found the lady in the red waiting for her partner. As soon as he walked in they were instantly locked in an embrace that lasted way too long. There were the parents hugging their daughter who was probably back from college. There will always be one of these families. Then, there were the aimless tourists or the family back from vacation. You can immediately tell them apart by their eccentric dressing choices.
I was captivated by this nice-looking lady in a teal top. She was holding a few yellow flowers in her hands that I couldn't recognise. The person that she was waiting for hadn't arrived yet. She was one of the only ones left waiting now. Although, she didn't seem anxious, she also didn't look happy to be meeting whoever she was meeting. In fact, she had no expression on her face and I was having a difficult time guessing her story. By then, everyone else had arrived and she was the only one left. Just then, there was a distinctive sound of wheels being dragged on the floor. This was different from the usual sound of the trolley wheels that carry luggage. The sound was coming from another door in the corner which had just opened and it made the woman look up from her flowers. It was a gurney bed covered in a white cloth. The woman walked slowly towards it with a still face. She laid the flowers on top of the white cloth and then walked beside the gurney as two men dragged it through the airport exit.
Tasnim Odrika likes pineapple on pizza and is willing to fight anyone who opposes her on this. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org