The only thing I could do was waiting. After having my new boarding pass printed and a coupon for lunch in the airport’s food court, I left to have a walk through the terminal. I just needed to walk around, to relax my body after so many problems and so much uncertainty. As I walked, I remembered that I didn’t have any luggage, nothing to take care of. My clothes and a couple of souvenirs I was taking home, had been destroyed just a few hour ago, in the blink of an eye.
Understandably, people were glued to all TV screens showing a news channel or any sort of new information about the disaster. As for me, I didn’t wanted to have anything to do with it. I was already in some sort of shock; I didn’t needed to get worse in any kind of way. I just looked for a place far from any crowd and there I sat down, trying to relax. That was not going to happen but having that kind of mission made me at least a little bit distracted, from the looks and the comments.
Yes, people already knew that I wasn’t supposed to be there. I have no idea how, but it wasn’t a surprise as people have always been all about gossip and knowing thing they have no place in knowing. I ignored the few looks I got and, thankfully, I only heard part of their speeches about me. Maybe they were talking about my luck or if I was travelling alone. Something about that but I really didn’t mind. I couldn’t mind because I had better things to think about than them.
There, sitting in a lonely row of chairs overlooking the tarmac, I remembered my favorite sweater. I hadn’t put it on because the weather report announced a very col day, which it was. But I could have put it on anyway or maybe stuff it on my backpack. It could have survived but now I was never going to put it on never again. It was something silly to think about but that’s all my mind could do to keep sanity inside. My sweater was no more and I couldn’t be more sad about it.
Someone, a woman, touched my shoulder and made me jump from fright. She had surprised me submersed into my mind. When I looked at her, she smiled and explained the people from the airline were now looking for me. I asked if the new flight was being cancelled and she shook her head negatively. She was apparently there to take me to the airline lounge, the more exclusive one. I was very happy for that but also kind of confused. She then explained it was the safest place for people to be: “Not even photographers can come in”. That explained it all.
I joined her, my backpack tight against me. As we walked towards the lounge, she was talking about all the things I could enjoy there for the next twelve hours, time I needed to wait until the next flight home. But I wasn’t really paying attention to her but to the people still standing in front of the screens, watching the images of twisted metal and molten plastic. It was a very morbid thing to see and yet, even children stood in from of the screens watching something they did not fully understand.
When we got to the lounge, she explained to me they had granted me access to the most exclusive areas. She handed me a silver card, which I had to use to make certain machines work and access some rooms like the showers, the spa and special small rooms to sleep for a while. She showed me everything but the truth was my body felt very week and I just wanted to sleep for a while, have a rest before the long flight I had to face the next day. Looks and comments will also be heard there.
When she left, I went straight for the room’s area. They weren’t really rooms, but more like a capsule hotel in the style they have in Japan. I chose one and hopped in. I put down the curtain separating me from the outside world and removed my trousers to really relax. I turned off the lights and lay there in silence, complete silence, trying to get my mind cleared in order to sleep. But I kept hearing people talking all around me and I just couldn’t do it. It took me more than an hour to fall asleep.
When I woke up, I thought I was only a few hours away from my flight, but that wasn’t the case at all. I had just been able to sleep four hours, which wasn’t really much considering at home I managed to sleep double that time every single night. I woke up just as tired as I was when I had hopped into that space. The only thing to do was to put on the pants and go out there, maybe eat something or have a hot cup of coffee or whatever I could find. It was better to be occupied.
I decided to have dinner first, so I grabbed a large plate and I started putting on it every single thing I could see on my plate, except the spicy food they had on one end of the room. I sat down to the table and I ate very slowly, trying not to look at the screens I had around. But that was almost impossible to do and, when I finished my plate, my head raised directly into on of those screens, showing in detail how the plane had crashed against the mountain, how no one could have survived.
Very silly me. I tried to look for my suitcases in the images, but it was obvious that nothing was really the same anymore. The plastic it was made of had probably melted and all my clothes were probably scorched to their tiniest self or maybe the wind had carried them all over the place. It wouldn’t be strange if some person arrived next day to work with my clothes on instead of his normal attire. That thought made a chill run down and up again my spine. Not something I like to think about.
I was supposed to be there, in that flight, having had their same last meal and hearing those same last announcements done by the crew. I have no idea what they said but I can guess it was something sinister, one of those things you would never hear in any other case. Or maybe not, people are so strange that maybe it was all going smoothly and death just caught up with them in the most awful and unexpected way. Not a great way to go, but many would love that for themselves.
I don’t want any of it yet. When I lost my flight because of a long line in the men’s room, I was very frustrated and I had yelled at half of the staff of the airport. I had called them anything from “useless” to “moron”. I tried to control myself because I started feeling a little anxious and it was then I went full crazy. If any photographers or journalists had seen that. I bet that would have been a first page kind of story, Many more would be staring and saying what they think about what happened.
But all of those are empty words. After all, I had seen those people. We had all done our check-in at the same time; we had even exchanged a joke or two or some comment about the weight of the bags. I had seen children yell and laugh and play. Adults trying to fix something and an elderly couple so in love still one would love to be them in any other life. I saw them being so human, so real and filled with life. And now they were no more, all of their flames had been extinguished in a second and I was the only one still alive from that group, just because.
I guess my blatter saved me, which doesn’t really make me very proud but I guess it’s good to be here and not there. But… Maybe it was my time to die and I’m just here because of a mistake. Or maybe someone else had to live and not me but here I am because of some kind of mistake someone made and some point. But no matter how much I try to understand it, things are what they are. I am the last person to be alive from a group of almost three hundred. At some point, I would have to tell my story in any way possible, even if it’s just a case of pure luck.