The world Bee had known shifted permanently when the woman rose from her prayer mat. It was 5:07am, in a foreign comatose airport halfway across her microscopic universe.
After 18 mind-altering hours on a plane, Bee couldn’t remember how to walk. Each step was its own careful performance as she dragged her body across the vertigo-inducing carpet. She felt like that dead guy from Weekend at Bernie’s. But without the other two dudes keeping her upright—no 1980s windbreaker and bushy mustache to help her out either.
Humming its mechanical song, the moving walkway carried nobody. Regardless, it glided forward on its devoted expedition.
People clung to shadowy edges, avoiding dim spotlights from the airport heavens above which mocked their undereye circles and ashy skin. Weird music floated across the cavernous terminal—failing to soothe, succeeding as an agitator.
Bee stumbled when she saw her, this veiled woman so beautifully grounded on her protected island. The top end of the woman’s prayer mat rested against the moving walkway. She pressed her slender, dark hands against the mat and sat back on her heels. Her mat was crooked, but she didn’t adjust it.
While everyone else avoided the unflattering overhead lights, she basked in her exclusive sunbeams. While everyone else waited impatiently for their journey to begin, she savored the journey that had already begun.
As Bee moved closer to the woman, she admired the tattered fabric of the woman’s prayer mat. It was starkly different from the foldable travel yoga mat in her checked baggage, used and loved in a way her scarless blue mat would never know.
Bee passed the woman and reached for life’s unreachable rewind button. She began scheming ways to binge-watch this one scene over and over again in the customizable pleasure she was used to on Netflix.
She eyed the moving walkway. The entrance was far away, about five gates to go. Bee considered hopping over the sticky handrails to catch the walkway going the other direction. Then, she could make up some time and get back to the woman on the prayer mat before she left.
Bee wanted to absorb the woman’s simplistic glow. But, she knew that wasn’t fair—none of that was meant for her. No matter how hard she tried, with her morning 8ish-minute meditation and semi-consistent westernized yoga practice, Bee would never be like her. Because she would forever be a spiritual pretender.
“Hey, you want coffee?” Mr. H pointed at the Starbucks in the fork in the airport road, gleaming beneath a brighter terminal spotlight.
Bee blinked twice. She couldn’t believe how decadent the corporate mirage smelled before her.
“I know. We hate to support Starfucks when we can buy from a local place. But I could definitely go for some right now.”
Bee managed the legitimate smile that was reserved just for him. Didn’t matter if she was sleep-walking through an airport, puking after too much red wine, or unable to form complete sentences after a hellfire workday. Mr. H always got the legitimate smile.
His disheveled, curly mop seemed to reach toward the promise of warm caffeine. Mr. H knew Bee wanted to skip Starfucks, search every obscure airport cafe and restaurant to unearth bitter coffee that didn’t arrive in that logoed cup…the holiday edition.
“Let’s grab some Starfucks, handsome.”
He never saw the woman rise from her prayer mat. But, the world Mr. H had known shifted permanently when he saw the familiar coffee conglomerate in a foreign comatose airport halfway across his microscopic universe.
Welcome to a new format on this blog called Real Life Fiction, where everyday experiences are shared through outlandish storytelling by yours truly. Hope you enjoyed it…more to come!