There is only the airport, the endless intersecting corridors, signs overhead flashing times for arrivals and departures, interspersed with ads, rice wine and cherry blossoms, a geisha in a flowered spring kimono. Delicate fingers hold the tiny sake cup. Pink lips sip, smile yes in any language.
All these lives passing with wheeled carts on the moving walkway. His shoulder bag is heavy. How long has he been here, walking from terminal to terminal, gate to gate?
There is no time here. The arrivals arrive, the departures depart. He is looking for Gate 43.
“There is no such gate here,” the girl at the Information Desk says. “You have to go to Terminal G.”
She points the way with a manicured fingernail. “Safe travels. I like your sweater.”
“Thank you.” Why is he wearing this sweater? He doesn’t remember putting it on. “It was a gift from my aunt. She would be expecting me to wear it, you see.”
“Of course.” The girl is done with him, now. There are others in line behind him, whining and pleading for directions. ” I’m sorry,” she says. “There is no such gate here.”
He heads in the direction her finger indicated, branching corridors of the alphabet, letters beyond Z.
“Now boarding for Alpha Centauri.”
Where is Terminal G? She must have been mistaken. Perhaps he turned the wrong way? There is an Information Desk up ahead, a line of travelers and travel bags. He waits his turn in line.
“Now boarding for M-43.”
The passenger ahead of him rushes off, tentacles clutching an overnight bag, two youngsters, a carry-on, a laptop, and a ticket, fluttering in the rain-scented air.
“Yes, how can I help you?” this girl could be the twin of the girl he spoke to before.
“I’m looking for Gate 43. Terminal G?”
“Terminal G is back that way.” She points with a manicured fingernail. “Safe travels. I like your sweater.”
“Thanks, it was a gift from my aunt.”
“That way,” she says. “Next please.”
He heads back the way he had come, the alphabet moving backward—Z, Y, X, . Signs flashing overhead, arrivals and departures, ads for rice wine, cups in delicate fingers.
Voimaoy lives on the western rim of Chicago, near the expressway and the Blue Line trains. Her writing can be found online at Paragraph Planet, Visual Verse, 101 Fiction and Unbroken Journal. Follow her on Twitter, too— @voimaoy