(pour la version française, par ici)
Transit Zone. People seem to take it literally. As soon as they step down they use trolleys, escalators and shuttles to rush and reach a new departure gate and a new plane that will bring them finally to their destination. Sometimes the transfer is not immediate. Some try to catch up to the time zone, laid out on three seats, squirming around the metallic armrests. For the others, the wait is just long enough for a coffee, a newspaper or a novel and they leave this place which was just part of the trip.
To each is own. For my part, I have already reached my destination. The next flight won’t bring me anywhere I want to go, I don’t even know which country it will be. The others are waiting to go, I am waiting for you.
By the way, what the hell are you doing? It’s almost been three hours that I’ve been sitting here biting my nails, while every minute already passed is taken away from the ones remaining. As a substitute to your absence I picture you in my head. Firstly, you are in your official dress as an Indian diplomat, the one you usually wear. Then I lighten your clothes and dress you up in the western fashion with these black velvet pants I like. Then I undress you. But the subterfuge isn’t working: I know that you’ll be even more beautiful than that.
We will have only a few hours. As usual, it won’t be enough. As usual, we will play with this emergency : instead of wading into each other, we will quietly have coffee. You will tell me your next mission as a cultural attaché in the embassy, I will talk about my job as a Brazilian salesman, my briefcase full of promising contracts will lay out on my knees. We will simulate interest even if we don’t give a damn. Every minute slipping away will make the remaining ones even more urgent and we will continue to play this little game. We will articulate some superficial sentences, repressing this relentless urge to jump on each other while our words will barely cover the surface of this volcanic ardour which, when it will explode, will make us dropping some coins on the table to escape finding a nook, anywhere, anyhow, blowing our clothes off and devouring by each other.
Some months of absence for a few hours of reunion. A moment in suspense which tears me from this life in Brazil, stiffened between the pathological paranoia of my wife and my uninteresting job. Then a split tied to the promise of a new meeting, new country, new airport, new transit room, where our respective flights will meet again just long enough for a stopover.
Seven years that I am putting up with my wife for the single reason that the job she gave me in her oil company allow me to see you. “Prospecting new international customers, promoting the products of the enterprise”. So be it. She can send me wherever she wants; Paris, Dubai, Beijing, as long as she lets me choose the country of transit. She can check my phone, my emails, she can watch over me at my departure, my arrival, as long as she disappears along the way. While I am preparing our reunions, I can stand these tyrannical months.
For that, neither messages nor call. Just two commercials of a travel agency you send me with a delay. First advertising third offer, this is your next place of transit. The day of the meeting is the one of the third travel, second advertising. You will arrive at the time you send your first message and leave at the exact moment your send me the second one. My mission is to find the proper client with the correct stopover at the right place. Regardless if it adds a thousand kilometers to the journey or a thousand and five hundred Reais. My wife won’t even check. Stifling spouse, she becomes a transparent hierarchical superior. She just mistakes the aspect of my life to look at. Actually, this is because of her that we can see each other…
There was this time when my plane was delayed. We only had a few minutes, time for a kiss which drained us like a full night of making love. There was this time when we were evicted from the restroom by the service order. There was this time when the next flight was cancelled, giving us the fully day together, enjoying a pizza and a coffee, wandering through the Duty Free and watching the sunset through the bay-window. And above all there were all these times, delightfully repetitive, we have lived with the same ardour. A transitory way out where my life could finally calm down. I would have done everything to keep these meetings forever. And I did. But it wasn’t enough.
I hope you didn’t notice anything. I’ve tried to ensure that. My performance was perfect, I have to say I knew my role well. I think I was convincing, even if now my briefcase is full of the free newspapers given from the planes. They have replaced the contracts since my wife fired me last year in the wake of our divorce, convinced of an affair with a girl I don’t even know. My Brazilian life, previously sullen, became chaotic. But I kept playing the game, organizing my travels according to the advertisements you were sending me. My suit became a costume I would wear only to meet up with you and play my role. The rest of the time, I am wearing a T-shirt and I am dishwashing in a restaurant. My tuxedo is standing by my suitcase in the hovel I am renting in the suburbs of Rio. My life has been destroyed and I did everything to keep you, preserving those moments that enable me to breath. I preserved the façade, clinging to it as long as I could.
But the next search warrant will deprive me of my house and of you. And the five numbers of my bank deficit won’t allow the purchase of the next plane ticket. I have played as long as I could. I couldn’t say that I lost but nevertheless I have to give up. And while the minutes I spend waiting for you are running out, the fear of losing you is swamping my desire to see you. I will have to tell you the dirty and corrosive truth and it will curse our seven long years of fleeting meetings. You will blame me for not having told you earlier, and you will be right. These idyllic memories will suddenly be overthrown by guilt. But I think it will be impossible for me to deal with that, and there is only one way to keep everything safe. For that, I just need to stand
I stand up. You are still not coming. Maybe you will arrive in a moment, breathless, to greet me with a kiss. Maybe not. Since a few seconds, it doesn’t really matter. I throw away all of the newspapers my suitcase was full off and I reach the departure gate printed on my ticket. I only have one hour left before my plane goes to …let’s see…Kenya. Why not. As soon as I arrive, I will have to erase my email address. This is the end of the journey. Of all of them.
Take-off. This is weird. I am leaving you in this zone of transit with seven years of my life and I already have this feeling that you were just a dream. But maybe you have been only that. After all, I’ve never verified if “Cultural Attaché to the Embassies” was a job that was existing in India.