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The Ghost

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									The Ghost
By Kohn Liu – May 2009



        He lived inside the quiet corridors of the most remote terminals. Like a lost
wanderer in deserted tunnels, he was, the ghost of all airports. Always fashioned in a suit,
with a black leather briefcase in his right hand, and a cup of locally brewed Joe in his left,
he would take small, slow sips from the paper cup while walking down passageways,
silently identifying places and faces of people he acquainted years ago.

        But no one knew him. At least no one knew who he was. All these years he
remained elusive like any other anonymous businessman that had disappeared one after
another behind every security checkpoint. If life was a collage of constant coming and
going, then his very own would be the motion pictures of all the coming and going in the
world, sped up a hundredfold. Everyone came quickly, and left shortly after. No one
stayed like he did, perhaps because an airport really served no further purpose other than
being a simple point of departure, a midpoint of passing arrivals. But he lived there, his
life grounded under each and every empty seat of every waiting room, his time spent
waiting along with passengers to leave this place only he'd call home.

        Sometimes he would leave too, but only to fly to another city, country, or
continent nearby. And when the plane landed, his journey also ended there and then. It
was therefore, no surpise that he would, from time to time, lose the track of time and
space, unaware of exactly where he was.


                                          *****


        When he opened his eyes this morning, his watch had read 02:29am. He was at
the end of a narrow terminal, facing an immense open water of what seemed to be a large
lake, backdropped with a cascade of mountains that were half covered in snow. He
looked around and had then determined that he was in a small regional airport somewhere
in Northern Europe. But perhaps he could still be in Chile, Brazil, or Argentina. He
remembered being in South America just a few hours ago.

        His watch was wrong, though, the day was breaking very slowly, and he could see
a light purple hue diffusing right above the emerald water. And the sight was
breathtaking. So breathtaking he was drawn to it away from his seat thoughtlessly, like a
nightwalker first awakened by a dark spell.

        He approached the scene. With hands holding onto the railing, he leaned forward,
his head bumped slightly against the window. Never had he seen anything like this before.
And he almost had the urge to break through the glass wall that'd denied his any contact
with this spectacular phenomenon, which was now being adulterated by the rising sun.
To say that his reality was limited within the confines of airports all over the world was
an understatement. But with such existence he also had the privilege to observe the world
through the eyes of a stationary traveler. Indeed, he had been everywhere, and seen
everything, alone, perhaps. But his home was anywhere an airplane could fly to. Yet
nothing he had seen until this moment could compare to what was dawning before him.

        The ambience was changing capriciously. He knew it wasn't going to last any
longer. He pressed forward a little more, hoping to savor the remaining marvel.

       "This is for you."
       A female hand emerged with a fresh Polaroid picture that had just started showing
       a vague image.
       "I took two, this one is for you."

He looked up. A woman his age had taken a photograph of him as he stood alone in the
empty terminal. In the picture was a black silhouette of a tall, skinny man with a briefcase,
standing before a peculiar gradient of dark green and purple. He took the photograph in
silence.

       "It's unbelievable, isn't it. So beautiful. I come here all the time just to see this."
       She continued, as though talking to herself.
       "And it's nowhere else in the world, at least for me. Only this airport, this terminal,
       this angle, this hour of this season..."

He turned toward her. She had made complete sense. And he wasn't able to utter another
word in response, or in elaboration. It was his thought exactly.

       "Well, I am Amy."
       "I hope you like the picture."
       The woman turned and left.

Down the corridor he saw a man waiting, his hand extended towards the stranger woman,
Amy. She jogged towards him, and extended her own. They joined hands and walked
away together.

       "I am John," he said.

       The terminal was very well lit now. The lake glowed in a vibrant green under the
sun, with small waves on top glittered in gold. He backed away from the window and
followed their trail. As he walked down the corridor, the day's first flight was about to
embark.

"Final boarding call for passengers on flight 724 to Bueno Aires, please proceed to gate 5
immediately..."

He couldn't make out the rest. He was already running.


TO BE CONTINUED

								
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