Airports

Few places on Earth are quite as poetic as airports.  (300 words)

The ticket desks, the boarding passes, the sweepers and cleaners, the queues, the smell of coffee and pizza, the high polished shine of the floor, the glass doors and escalators are all so familiar but still they give me an adrenalin rush, even when I am not going to travel. 

In the echoing vault of impersonal halls voices are mixed, the Tower of Babylon broadcasting around me. I catch a splash of Italian, then some partially understood German, a Welsh lilt, and a language I can’t identify. I ponder it’s possible roots.

I gaze around me at clusters of people, their clothes, the array of luggage, vanity cases, suitcases, trunks, overstuffed shoulder bags and backpacks, people coming and going, some looking lost, some excited, some bored. Some are clearly impatient, pacing back and forth, consulting their watches too often.

I study the family groups of all generations. Children are sliding across the polished floor using it as an ice rink. Parents are looking harassed. I watch the faces. All emotions are here.

I see a woman alone, tears streaming down her face as she walks quickly away, containing herself, controlling an outburst of sorrow.

My eyes fall upon lovers wrapped in each other’s arms waiting for sad separation in the departure hall as I pass through to arrivals where other lovers rush at each other happy, clinging, hugging, kissing. She jumps up and down. He is laughing.

I buy another coffee, take out my notebook and begin to write.

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