A puff of air ascended from its depths, washed my face with nothingness and disappeared into the cabin in which I’d been confined.
A tenebrous abyss of red and black. How else could I describe the horrific sight my eyes wished not my heart to see? For my heart pined for copious sustenance, a foolish dream that would not have the satisfaction of fulfillment in that very hour.
I gulped my water, emotions tossing to and fro like a steed on steroids, refusing to be tamed yet curbed by the brown woodiness of a stable. Inside my chest, a perplexing blend of naive hope and harrowing disappointment caused my slender fingers to tighten around my drinking vessel.
No! I could not let them see. I could not let them see my distress so weighty and so heavy that it hung my head low.
For two hours, shall I sit? Shall I sit and contemplate? Shall I sit, contemplate and meditate and strain my eyes upon the hint of speckled gold beyond the darkness . . . and wish it were more than a fleeting silver lining?
Then it gripped me. Like lightening ripping across a distant, dreary sky, amusement plastered itself across my countenance as I remembered. Yes!! I remembered. I’d bought back-up! Salvation was in my handbag! I laughed discreetly, dipped my fingers into the Doritos bag and nibbled on the modest serving.
Too dramatic? (To describe it any other way would’ve been borderline boring. Had to have some fun with it.)
Needless to say, I enjoyed the Doritos; my worms were fully appeased with a back-up snack; and the flight was uneventful. There was a little turbulence, here and there, but nothing too scary, thank God.
As the plane touched down smoothly at the Orlando International Airport, an enthusiastic applause crescendoed from the back of the plane to the front, and for the first time in years, I missed Air Jamaica.
I know some folks may not understand this clapping thing. But for us Jamaicans, a round of applause is a show of gratitude to the pilot for flying us to our destination safely. If you’re on a flight with whole heap of Jamaicans, and they start clapping when the plane lands. Don’t bother give them any funny looks. They’ll be too busy clapping. Just join in and clap too.
The way I see it, any number of mishaps can occur on a flight. The good news is, most flights land safely. Why not celebrate this fact each time we get to where we’re going to in one piece?
So after the clapping, we disembarked and made our way through Immigration and Customs. Again, uneventful. We went outside, relieved this part of the journey was over and expecting our ride to be nearby.
But we saw no one.
We paced the sidewalk for a few minutes then decided it would make sense to stay in one place. So, we parked ourselves on the nearest empty bench by an automatic exit door and craned our necks to try to identify which of the cars circling the pick-up area could possibly be ours. The only information we had about this car was its colour. Nothing more.
We watched person after person pull up to the sidewalk, hug and kiss loved ones, hoist luggage into the trunk of their vehicles and drive away in high spirits.
Half hour later, we were still waiting.
One of us paced the sidewalk again while the other kept watch over the luggage. What would we do? There was no way to contact our ride. Our phones didn’t have roaming, and there was no WiFi service.
We thought of all the possible reasons why they hadn’t showed up yet. Maybe they’d arrived early, got tired of circling and parked outside the airport. Maybe we were waiting in the wrong spot. Maybe there was another exit that we’d missed. We questioned an elderly marshal overseeing the traffic. He assured us that we were in the right place.
Another 10 minutes passed by. Our ride was still nowhere in sight as we watched cars circling and circling, sometimes counting the same cars multiple times.
I dug into my handbag for my last snack: a small bag of Cheetos. I ate slowly. Would it be my last meal–the last supper?
Tune in next time for more . . . From Ochi to Orlando!
Love and peace,