Quo Vadimus

If you’ve been here before you probably already know that I’m a Nerdfighter and a big fan of PBS’s The Art Assignment. Assignment #7 was called What How Where and directed us to a website that gave a three part art prompt.

Mine was pretty amazing…

What How Where_page1_image1

And as soon as I saw that I knew that I wanted to write a short story. It’s been a while since I wrote anything between a novella and a poem so this was a chance for me to stretch my legs and take a wander. It is interesting working within the constraints given – I had a clear brief and I knew I would be posting it online. I thought I would write and be done. Except it turned out to be bigger than that and then I wanted it to be good – not just spontaneous, but something I felt I could share. I changed my mind! So I wrote and edited and this is the result.

 

Quo Vadimus

 

‘Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Cassie and I’m your senior flight attendant. On behalf of Captain Franks and First Officer Lewis as well as the entire cabin crew, welcome aboard Flight 1191 taking you direct and non-stop from Los Angeles LAX to Baltimore BWI tonight.’

I was one of the first onto the flight and in one of the furthest forward rows. Neat and nervous I couldn’t sit still. I had a suitcase crammed into the hold somewhere below my feet and a briefcase, full of prep notes for my interview, shoved under the seat in front of me. Unable to wait until we were in the air I slipped the foolscap folder of research out of my bag and onto my little tray table. The window next to me was a blur of changing activity. Outside, the apron was full of scurrying workers with ear-protectors and bright vests. Bags were tugged around and wheels left tracks behind them. The rush of life and travel on the tarmac contrasted to the slowing relaxation inside the plane. The collapse of relief that the airport, baggage, passport, checks and hurrying was over for a while. People began to settle after being shaken. The rushing forward over for a while, thoughts began to return, a chance to remember the destination as well as the journey.
I’d been working upwards for ten years and finally had reached the level I could afford to shift across. A lateral move. West to East. Coast to Coast. LA to DC. I had sat in on all the right meetings, made the right connections, shaken the right hands. Kept my head down and my nose clean. By the time I had given my ticket over and sat down in the plane I was ready to get away. Even if it was only one day somewhere new. Even if I was heading for another job interview just like the job I was trying to get away from. I wanted to see what else there was beyond where I had been stuck. I had put down roots before I realised what I was doing and it made trying to move on or away that much harder.

The crew continued to hurry people in around me but I barely looked up. I read and re-read statistics to quote and memorised names to drop as other people fitted into their seats and flicked through magazines or last minute airport novels. It was a half-hearted flight. Late night and mid-week. Awkward hours and an arrival into Baltimore instead of Dulles meant that the business traffic was elsewhere. I checked my phone for the time, answered a few good-luck messages and turned it off. We seemed to be on schedule. The stream of people had diminished to a trickle, one or two red faced people rushed through to seats behind me. Outside the window, the previously busy workers leaned against empty carts, watching far off activity, waiting for the next cattle run.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, our Captain has now switched on the Fasten Seat Belt sign. If you’ve not already stowed your carry-on luggage please place it underneath the seat in front of you or in an overhead locker.’

As the announcement ended I saw an old woman was being helped down the passageway by two flight attendants and two walking sticks. She moved carefully, as though she was considering each step, a choice that mattered, that counted. She was led into the cabin and sat down in the aisle seat in my row, one across from where I had been placed. She winced as she pushed herself back into the seat, her feet barely touching the floor of the plane.

‘Miss Trager?’ The old lady looked up as she heard her name. ‘I’m Cassie, anything you need just press that button in your arm rest and I’ll be right with you.’ The senior flight attendant smiled at the old woman, a genuine sort of smile that cracked through company policy to a more human connection.
‘Thank you, Cassie. I’ll be sure to do that.’ The lady said. Cassie smiled at me as well and walked back down the aisle.
The old lady looked over at where I was sitting.
‘They take good care of us old folk here. My name’s Joceline.’ She held out her hand. I shuffled papers until I could extract a hand and shook hers.
‘Hello.’ I smiled at her, unsure of what to say. Somehow being in the air with strangers always brought down the walls that seemed to box in regular conversation. The rules changed and I wasn’t sure what the new ones were.
‘What’s your name, young lady?’ she asked me.
‘Emma.’
‘You take good care of that name of yours. Change it if you want to but take care of it. It might not be the real you but it’s the one that everyone will see.’ Joceline smiled at me, watching me think through what she had just said. She was older than anyone I knew but she was beautiful. She didn’t seem at all diminished but rather, more alive than everyone else around her. Her black skin and grey hair were matched by tailored white linen trousers held by a brown leather belt and a wide collar light blue shirt. She had a soft cardigan and matching scarf tucked around her shoulders.
I smiled at her and watched as she turned away and got herself settled into her seat. I shifted back to the notes in front of me and started reading about government contracts for defence spending. The doors of the plane had been closed and I was waiting for the familiar hum as we began to move. Waiting to be taken to a new chance. I couldn’t tell if was nerves or excitement. I had been looking forward to a change for so long that I had started planning what I would do when I had the new job before I had even been interviewed. I wanted to get away, out from the desk I had worked at for so long with the people I was tired of; to a job I had been trying to get for years. The thing that I had been dreaming of.

‘Always think it’s a shame to see young people workin’ on a plane. Haven’t you got a good book or a bad magazine you could be lookin’ at?’ Joceline’s voice interrupted my reading a few minutes later.
‘I’ve flying to an interview so I have to make sure I’m ready.’ I smiled at her, and watched transfixed as she cracked sunflower seeds with her teeth and spat the husks out into a sick-bag.
‘What’s the job?’ Joceline asked.
‘It’s with the state department. I’ve wanted to work there ever since I got my first job out of college.’ I said, smiling at her.
‘Uh-huh.’ She said, expecting more.
‘I need the interview to go well. It’s my dream job, I guess.’ I said.
‘Dream job? The thing that you want to do more than anythin’? Job you’d choose to do even if they didn’t pay you? The one that you would still want to do if you never needed to work again?’ Joceline asked. She had twisted around in her seat to face me.
‘Well, no. I wouldn’t do it if I never needed to work again but I do need a job and it’s the one I want.’
‘That’s not a dream, Emma, that’s a plan. What’s your dream? The thing that you want more than anything, more than reason and more than a long life with a steady pension?’ Joceline pushed.
‘It feels a little weird talking to a stranger about it.’ I said, laughing to try and cover how awkward I felt.
‘Well, honey, we all start out as strangers. I’m not goin’ to be making a lot of new friends now but I’m not goin’ to stop tryin’.’ Joceline replied. She had a way of speaking, sure of every word. I had never sounded like that, not once in my life. Perhaps it came with age, a personal wisdom.
‘I don’t know.’ I said.
Joceline reached over and patted my hand, still resting on top of the notes that I was supposed to be working through.
‘Don’t worry, you’ll find it. In the meantime this job sounds like somethin’ you’ve put a lot of time and effort into.’ She said. ‘If you don’t know what your dream is then you can do anythin’ at all while you find out. It’s only once you know what you should be doin’ that you start wastin’ time if you’re not tryin’ to do it.’ She went back to cracking sunflower seeds and humming to herself. I didn’t want to think about it. A few hours and I’d have my interview, hopefully in a few days a new job. A new city and all of the things I’d been planning for. There was a thought at the back of my mind. Something that I was trying to think about, or trying to forget, something to consider but a crackle and a cough preceded the next announcement from the cockpit.

‘Ladies and gents, this is your Captain, due to an equipment change, departure for BWI Baltimore has been delayed. We won’t be asking you to deplane but just to sit tight and we’ll be in the air as soon as possible. I will let you know as soon as we have more information. We’re sorry for the delay and thank you for your patience.’

The voice of the Captain sounded apologetic and hollow in the half-empty space. The usual chorus of groans echoed louder late at night than it did during the day. Overnight flights felt like forever even without the delays. Waiting on a runway made it more obvious how much sleep you were missing, especially flying East and losing time all the way. Days flickered through memories as travel begets travel. The more you move the more movement you crave. Start walking and you never stop, the moment you choose to move is the only time you pause, once you’ve made your mind up you just keep on going. I turned back to my notes and began flicking through them, trying to see what else I needed to know.
‘So have you figured out what your dream is yet?’ Joceline asked, grinning at me. She looked younger, more mischievous.
‘Already? No!’
‘What do you mean, already? Time’s movin’ on, honey, it’s not going to stop and wait while you figure out what you should be doin’. Time has to keep movin’ for all the other people who are tryin’ to reach their goals.’ she said.
I didn’t know what to say.
‘Have you ever done anythin’ and thought that you could do it every day for the rest of your life? I don’t mean somethin’ easy, but somethin’ that satisfied you? Not doin’ anythin’ is rarely as much fun as it sounds but there’s things that let you be yourself and still get it all done.’ Joceline’s tone had changed again and she was going to wait for my answer, no matter how long I held out.
‘I spent a summer working on a blueberry farm in Maine. I’ve never known time to pass like that. Outside, in the real world. It was bright and hot and the air was salted when the wind came in from the sea. My hands stained and my shoulders ached. We ate and built muscles and made friends. The people I was working with were so amazing that I never wanted to leave. I still sometimes send them postcards when I travel.’ I said.
‘So why are you headin’ to DC instead of Maine?’
‘It’s not a real job; it was just for a summer. I’d not be doing anything.’
‘You’d be doing somethin’ every day. Maybe it’d be harder for you to explain to folks at weddings, maybe it wouldn’t give you as many savin’s, maybe your shoes wouldn’t be as pretty as you’d get to wear in DC but you’d sure be doing somethin’.’ She swallowed a handful of pills with water and grimaced.
‘Never get old, honey, it all catches up to you.’

I had split in two. Part of me was so sure that nothing would change that I was still counting down the hours until the interview. The other part heard something unusual, something you don’t notice unless you look for it. Locked in one place, decisions could be made and thought over. Without looking at what I was doing I shuffled my notes into one pile of paper and shoved them back into the folder. It was a long flight, even without the delay and that other part of me knew that I wasn’t going to be doing any more reading. I didn’t need to work through the flight anyway. I had already spent enough time planning, I just brought my notes with me to give me something to do while I waited to get to DC. I’d been waiting for so long that the final stretch felt like a marathon. Joceline and I chatted about the small things that seemed big and the game-changers that we hadn’t seen coming. Her life had been what anyone would have expected. She’d never been to Europe, she hadn’t flown a plane or steered a ship. Joceline had lived her life, had her child, lost his father to another woman, made money and spent it. She’d lived her life and while I listened to her talk about it I realised that she’d never had a job that changed the world but she had done something that counted. It had counted to her, and to the people she had met along the way. And she was a damned sight braver than I had ever been.

An hour dragged into two and we waited. People got up and stretched, moved their bags about or swapped seats to look at a different bit of the same grey view for a while. Trapped there was nothing that we could do. No action to take, nothing to help, it had all been taken out of our hands. I decided that the only sensible thing I could do was keep on talking to Joceline. I wasn’t working and she made the mess of ideas and half-formed thoughts in my head seem clearer.
‘Why are you heading to Baltimore, Joceline?’ I asked.
‘I’m movin’, honey. At my age I wanted to be near my son.’ She said.
‘What does your son do?’ I asked, allowing myself a little nosiness after telling Joceline so much.
‘He’s a soldier.’ She said.
‘Wow. You must be very proud of him.’
‘I’ve been proud of that boy since the day he was born.’ She said.
‘What was he like when he was young?’
‘Fast! Always chasin’ and shoutin’ about something. Army calmed him down, set him straight.’ She said.
I liked knowing that she had raised a son, it made her seem more real to me. I wanted to meet her son, and hoped that he’d be at the airport waiting for her. Anyone who had grown up with Joceline would be a force to be reckoned with.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the cabin crew I am asking that you direct your attention now to the screens above or in the seat backs as we review the emergency procedures.’
Conversation around the plane quietened down as people listened to tired safety announcements. People would never really feel safe on airplanes again, no matter how many checks they went through to get on board or how many safety briefings they listened to.
‘Please now take a moment to locate the exit closest to you. Note that the nearest exit may be behind you. Count the number of rows to your closest exit.’
Exits were hidden behind other people or in blind spots, unknown until people turned their heads. There were always the exits that were doubled as entrances, you could always find your way out the way you came in.
‘In the unlikely event of an emergency landing we will ask you to evacuate the aircraft, please leave your carry-on items behind.’
Even when you know the world is about to come crashing down around you, that it’s all about to end you still can’t take anything with you – nothing that you own, nothing that you have kept close.
‘While we wait for take-off, please take a moment to review the safety data card in the seat pocket in front of you.’

‘Good Lord, I know they’re tryin’ to make sure we’ll know what to do if we crash, but when we start fallin’ out of the sky the only thing people will be thinkin’ about is what they last said to the people they loved. We’re not goin’ to remember where the life-jackets are.’ Joceline was leaning forwards in her seat, trying to spot the bright yellow life-jacket complete with whistle and light. She looked like a little girl, legs swinging in the air, her glasses slipping down her nose as she peered into the gap below the seat. I smiled, watching her curiosity, wondering if she thought before she spoke or if age had allowed her to say whatever she wanted the moment she thought of it.
‘I would have thought everyone would be trying to make sure they survived.’ I said.
‘Hmmph. Probably. Things are changin’ all over the place. Maybe now that it’s so easy to stay in touch with people all of the time we don’t ever stop and just think about them. You’re never that alone anymore.’
‘I thought that would be a good thing.’ I said.
‘Oh, perhaps it is, honey. But if you’re never alone you don’t find out if you can be happy just being yourself and without that how can you be happy with other people?’
‘That makes sense.’
‘A lot of things make sense this late in the day.’ Joceline said.
I watched her wiggling her feet, trying to get comfortable as we sat and waited for the plane to taxi along. It felt like very little time now after waiting for so long at the gate. Even a little bit of movement after so long standing still was a release and enough to bring slow smiles. We were through and up into the air all of a sudden, a pull and a rush and a tug deep in the stomach and we had lifted off. The world behind and the world ahead. Now the interview I had spent months preparing for, the job I had been hoping for, the life I had been thinking about seemed a lot more than a continent away.

###

‘Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has now turned off the Fasten Seat Belt sign so you can move freely around the cabin. However we do always recommend that you keep your seat belt fastened while you are seated. You may now also turn on electronic devices.’

Freedom restored, a lot of people stood up, not needing to visit the bathroom, not needing to stretch but needing to do something they had been previously forbidden. The unquiet silence after the screaming of take-off curled around us. Most of the passengers had arranged themselves so that they could stretch out across several empty seats and sleep. I was tired. Not sleepy, but tired. Joceline looked more awake the deeper into night we headed. The liminal hours suited her, the betwixt and between when we can all choose what we are and where we are heading. Around us the lights dimmed and then, like a small city in the sky, overhead lights clicked off, pushing whole neighbourhoods into darkness
‘Would you like me to switch these lights off, honey?’ Joceline asked me, indicating the three bright spots above us.
‘No thanks, I don’t feel much like sleeping tonight.’
‘That right? Me neither. You thinkin’ about your interview tomorrow?’ Joceline’s question jolted me. I’d started to let myself forget why I was there. The folder of notes had slipped to the floor when I’d put my tray table up during take-off. The minute they weren’t right under my hand I had forgotten them. The changes I had been so desperate for in my life in LA now seemed the wrong hopes to cling to. I couldn’t imagine how one conversation, such a brief grab of time had made me question my plans. Plans. Not dreams. Joceline. We were both here, both awake.
‘I’ve been holding on to my dreams for so long now that I hadn’t noticed how much I’ve changed. I changed and the dreams didn’t.’ I said to her. In the darkness her skin looked more stunning than ever, shadows caught and enhanced the lines on her face. Too artistically placed to call wrinkles. The contour lines she’d drawn herself. Her choices painted straight onto skin with each mistake as permanent as the victories.
‘Realisin’ you changed is most of the battle, honey. Now you just need to fight the war.’ She said.
Cassie had handed us tiny foam pillows and thin blankets. Joceline shoved the pillows behind her back and we sat with blankets tucked around our knees. Somehow on that plane we had managed to create a tiny sewing circle. A small-town atmosphere of familiarity. I wondered what had made me get that strange flight out to Baltimore, what had set me on course for meeting Joceline. It was an ordinary job interview, an ordinary journey, an ordinary plan. Except for meeting a slightly nosy, rather bossy, deeply human woman named Joceline. But that’s where the stories are. Those are the parts that are worth remembering and repeating. The times that something happens differently, the rule-breaker and the game-changer. And if it’s true that good people bring out the good in people then Joceline was definitely good people.
‘You need to decide what matters to you, honey. What do you want to stand up for and what can you let pass you by. Where do you want to be and what is always goin’ to get you out of bed in the mornin’. It can be a job, a man, a mission or a cause. But there is somethin’, and when you find it you’ll stop needin’ an alarm clock because you’ll want to get up and at ’em every day.’
‘Maine and making it up as I go along, then?’ I said.
‘It’d be an adventure.’ Joceline replied, her grin mischievous again.
‘Hmmm, adventures can get you into a lot of trouble.’
‘Yes they can, but routine will be the death of you, honey. I can see it, you’ve got a wanderin’ soul, you shouldn’t be chainin’ yourself to desks and plans.’
‘I’m scared.’ I admitted.
‘Of what? Things changin’? It might all become better than you imagined.’ She said.
‘But sometimes things get much, much worse too.’
‘Yes, they do. But things get worse when you do nothin’ as well. They don’t often get better without a little bit of effort bein’ made.’ She said.

‘Cabin crew please be seated. Ladies and gents, this is First Officer Lewis, we’ve turned the Seat Belt sign on at this time as we are encountering a little turbulence. Please return to your seats and keep your seat belts fastened. Thank you.’

The sky rocked around us, we dipped and dropped and the air grew louder. But it wasn’t frightening. And so I told Joceline the truth. The scar that I kept hidden from everyone. The one thing that I didn’t tell people because of how they would look at me.
And she looked at me.
And I stopped hiding.

I had been broken, not by someone else but by myself. In those few hours aloft I became a walking example of kintsugi, cracked and damaged still but healed with beauty. Not hiding the scars but making them a part of myself, highlighting the history that brought me to where I stood. I filled the crack inside of me with gold. Her words. I think that Joceline would have changed the life of whomever she sat next to on that flight, and if it had been someone else then I might have never changed at all.
‘You don’t need to be a judge or a lawmaker, you don’t need to be a doctor or a teacher to change the way things work. Find the thing that matters most, find a way of becomin’ yourself and completely livin’ your life and the world will be better for it.’ Some of the things that Joceline told me in that high dark night sounded like folk songs. Lyrics ripped from experience instead of from an album cover. I agreed with her, even when I didn’t. Some of the things that she said were hard or too far from me. It was easier to agree with her because everything she said to me was true for her even when it wasn’t true for me. She talked and I listened, she asked questions and I answered them, usually my responses were just what seemed to be expecting. Our conversation slowed along with the deep breathing around us. We were still strangers but isolated from all of the others around us who were yet unknown.

I nodded off, and I dreamt of blueberry farms.

When I woke up, Joceline was holding a drink and picking at a tray of limp cheese and dry crackers. She looked over at me as I stretched. Twenty minutes sleep felt like enough somehow. I had already changed my watch to Eastern Time. I didn’t want to be late fitting back into the world I had come from.
‘You were smilin’, honey. Good dream?’
‘Yes it was.’
‘You’re changin’ your mind.’ She said. I think she looked smug, it was hard to tell in the dawn-darkness but that’s what it seemed to me at the time.
I had changed my mind but I didn’t know how she could know that just by looking at me. I was starting to wonder whether she existed or if she was a sort of airline Fairy Godmother. Maybe it was nothing to do with Joceline. Perhaps I needed to break out of my routine to see how much routine dominated my life, how similar one day was to the next and the last. Perhaps I needed to have the sort of lousy day I’d had before the flight. A day of delays and traffic and fights at work. A week of back-stabbing and broken showers and bad flatmates and noisy neighbours and too many papers on my desk. Perhaps it was inevitable but it felt like it was Joceline.

The last few hours aboard the plane were bright and stand clear in my memory, I can close my eyes and return to the moment. The light was starting to creep back into the world as we chased the morning down. Conversations started up behind us as people woke up and moved around more. After the other passengers had slept through the night’s revelations it seemed strange to see them again. I had forgotten that there were other people in the world, let alone other people in the plane with us. Sometimes the view changes in the time it takes to blink. It was morning. It was tomorrow and I was ready to get off the plane.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, as we begin our descent, please make sure that your seat backs are in their full upright position and your tray tables are stowed. Ensure that your seat belt is securely fastened and all carry-on luggage is once again stowed underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead lockers. Please turn off all electronic devices until we are safely parked at the gate. Thank you.’

Back to earth. Putting everything back into its place again. When I had arrived at LAX I had got a solid plan. I had divided the flight up into sections so that I could get all of the work done that I wanted to get through, as well as getting as much sleep as I would need to look alert for the interview. I had spent weeks working on how to come across as exactly the sort of person they would want to hire. I had practiced being the type of person that they would want to work alongside. I had been perfecting a projection. With a delayed flight I had even more time to work on becoming that person. The girl with a plan. But that girl with a plan had met a woman with wisdom. Talking to Joceline became comfortably flippant. I felt as though I was sitting in my favourite aunt’s kitchen with a cup of coffee and a whole afternoon stretching in front of me, nowhere else to be and nothing to be worrying about.
My stomach jolted as we began to descend. Nothing at all can happen when you’re on a plane for seven hours. You are cut off from all responsibility and all action. While up in the air there is nothing to do but think and choose and decide and change.

I had changed my mind.

###

‘Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Baltimore BWI Airport. Local time is 7.13am and it is a bright and clear morning outside. Please check around your seat for any personal belongings you may have brought on board with you and please use caution when opening the overhead lockers, as heavy articles may have shifted around during the flight.’

The last set of instructions to follow. After so much inactivity there was a rush of people and noise and fresh air. People bundled their things along in front of them, nodding at people they had bumped into during the night and then walking on to never talk again. Hair was scrunched up and faces weary. Joceline was being taken off the flight last, I waited with her, I was in no hurry anymore. I carried her tote bag along with my briefcase and our coats as one of the BWI porters pushed her in an old clunky wheelchair down the ramp and through into the baggage area.

‘Can I give you a little advice, Emma?’ Joceline asked me, more serious than I had seen her in our long eight hour acquaintance.
I couldn’t help but laugh.
‘You’ve done nothing but give me advice since we met back on the tarmac in Los Angeles. But yes, of course you can.’ I said.
‘Remember that the meanin’ of life is to find meanin’ in life. That’s all. That’s the best we can do. Finding the meanin’ in life is more than money and family, work and other people. It’s just you and your knowledge. Okay. I’ll quit tryin’ to give you advice now.’
‘I don’t want you to stop giving me advice!’ I said, laughing again.
‘Ah, well that’s a mighty nice thing of you to say, honey but I’m all done here. This is my ride.’ A middle-aged woman in a light blue tunic and trousers was walking towards us with a wheelchair.
‘Miss Trager?’ the nurse asked.
‘Yes, honey, that’s me.’ Joceline replied, I had grown so used to being called ‘honey’ by her that it felt strange to hear it referring to someone else.
‘I’m Michelle, I’m here to take you home.’
I looked between the two women.
‘Joceline? I thought you were going to stay with your son.’
‘I’m afraid I lied a little bit. Just a white lie. I told you that I was movin’ to live near my son, but I won’t be livin’ with him – not yet anyway. He’s buried out here. He was killed in action in 2005. I want to be buried beside him so I’m spendin’ my last few months out here at an inpatient hospice center that my doctor found for me. Lovely place it looks, from the brochures.’ Joceline said, indicating to the nurse. Mallows Bay Hospice was stitched over the pocket of her tunic. My eyes filled with tears but I was smiling. Strange. I understood. The nurse had finished arranging the wheelchair and took Joceline’s walking sticks from her. I leaned in and hugged her gently, she felt surprisingly strong and gripped me tightly. I held her for a count, then two and let her go. She patted my cheek and sat down heavily in the wheelchair, all of the air seemed to have been let out of her in one go. Another woman, dressed in the same tunic uniform as the first nurse turned Joceline around and wheeled her out towards the large sliding doors and the East coast beyond. I grabbed a business card out of my briefcase and gave it to the nurse.
‘I might not be at the same address now but the cell number’s right. If she needs anything, please call me.’ I said as I watched Joceline tilt her head up to catch the heat as she emerged into the early morning light.
‘Of course. Long flight?’ the nurse asked.
‘It felt like a lifetime.’ I said, grabbing my suitcase.
The company driver holding up my name card was waiting for me. He had barely flinched in all of the time I had been talking to Joceline’s nurse. I walked up to him.
‘Excuse me. That’s my name, but I won’t be needing a ride today. Thanks. I’m really sorry for the trouble.’
‘No trouble ma’am.’ He said raising one eyebrow very slightly.
Once he had gone I walked the other direction, away from the taxis and loading cars full of friends and family waiting. Walking towards the public transport depot I grabbed a map, a bottle of water and a postcard from a kiosk and then headed out of the airport. A bus was just closing its doors at the kerb.
‘Wait!’ I shouted to the driver, hurrying towards the departing bus.
He did. The doors reopened and I climbed up the steps, dragging my suitcase behind me. The rush of air conditioning washed around me.

‘Where are you going?’

……

And that’s my response to “Change your mind in the air with strangers” for Art Assignment #7. I hope you liked it. And that you didn’t mind a little prose on a mainly poetry blog!

Name: Vick Linde (the ‘e’ in Linde is silent)
Assignment: #7. What, How, Where
Title: Quo Vadimus
Pronoun: Her/She

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5 thoughts on “Quo Vadimus

  1. I really enjoyed this. And it ties in so well with words I heard spoken tonight at my daughter’s school awards ceremony. The guest speaker was an ex-pupil and gave a humbling and inspiring speech. One of the explicit messages was that finding something meaningful in life gave meaning to life.
    I have to admit that before he came on it was all a bit boring so I started on a poem and made fair inroads into it before stopping to listen to him. He then used words from my poem and spoke of things I had only been thinking of five minutes before!
    And now I come home to read this and it feels so right. Do you know what I mean? A bit like a shared knowing – weird but wonderful. I’m so glad I read this. Now back to that poem and a little reworking perhaps.x

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