The Long Wait

To say that I was extremely exhausted would be a super understatement. The person I was waiting for at the airport had apparently forgotten that the country he was departing from was in a different time zone! His terrible mistake had caused me to arrive at the airport two hours earlier! I was therefore forced to imbibe on excessively overpriced juice (you  know how unreasonably expensive restaurants stationed inside an airport can be) while thinking of better ways the money I had spent on the miniature glass of juice could have been put into use. That money would have fed the whole world and there would be still some left over. I haven’t even mentioned the exorbitant packing fees.

No matter how slowly you drink a glass of juice, you will still finish it. What would have taken a gulp to be finished managed to take thirty minutes. Ahem, round of applause. Taking atom after atom of juice so that you are not kicked out of the restaurant is no mean feat. I was determined to finish off the dregs, but to no avail. I had no choice but to vacate my safe haven.

I joined other people who were waiting, hope and anticipation written all over their faces. The sweltering heat of the sun did not seem to deter them. Occasionally, planes would land and after several minutes smiling people would descend to the waiting area, dragging their big suitcases. 

“Hey! Mary! Lucy! Dad has arrived!” a middle aged woman standing behind behind me shrieked with glee. Before she even finished her statement the two children had already started running to their father without a care in the world. One almost knocked him down. 

There was still no sign of the man I was waiting for. I was reduced to mere observer, observing other people’s joys. I saw happy reunions everywhere I looked. Running with arms stretched wide seemed to be the signature dance move for people in the airport. My eyes however caught a man who seemed distraught. He was bald and considerably overweight. I could not  quite see his face. Clutching at his suitcases, he was scanning the airport. No one was running to him, no one seemed particularly excited to see him. In the midst of all these joyous reunions was a man who could not trace a familiar soul. Maybe he thought that his family didn’t care about him, that they had forgotten him, that they had lied that they would be waiting…

Opposite me were people who, just like me, were tired of waiting. Some were even raising placards that contained the names of the people they were expecting, but none seemed to approach them. On one side, some people, including the bald man, never found anyone waiting while on the other side, some were getting weary of waiting for people who didn’t seem to come. The irony of life has never been more apparent.

I don’t know what led me to approach the man, but I found myself walking towards him.I wanted to see how I could help him. I wasn’t prepared for the pleasantly rude shock that awaited me. He was the man I was waiting for.

“Michael! Is that you? You’ve changed! Oh my gosh!  You’re losing hair, you’ve gained…”

“Shhh…” he interrupted and reached out to hug me.

We were locked in deep embrace. Tears of joy streamed down my face. I had finally gotten the chance to see him after so long. He was alive. He had arrived safely. Nothing else mattered at that moment.