January 1 2017. Aeroporto de Lisboa.
I’ve probably been in Portugal for less than an hour, but people seem significantly shorter here than they did in Germany. I don’t know how representative the current airport demography is of Portugal’s general population, but that’s just my observation.
I look around, watching the different streams of people moving about. I am submerged in a trepidifying internal pool of wrenching heartbreak, and am being unnervingly chafed by the scathing anxiety for the future that intermittently eats at the raw insides of my chest.
I booked a one way ticket to Cape Verde from Berlin. I have about a hundred dollars in my bank account. I have no idea what will happen once I get there, but I know I have no choice but to go.
The certainty is not in the specific location of Cape Verde- I was actively considering Madagascar for my flight destination about a week ago. The certainty is in the decision to spend some time in a new environment, uncumbered by the commitments of an academic programme and let my thoughts which for the past few months have been discomfitingly repressed and constrained, be freely expressed.
So far no one has stopped me from skateboarding around this airport. Those German airport security guys were less tolerant.
I have about four euros in my pocket. I had a twenty dollar note somewhere in my bag upon leaving Berlin, but for some reason it is now nowhere to be found. I first realised it was missing in the taxi to the airport, on my way to catch the first Cape Verde flight I booked – one which I eventually missed. Regardless, I am subconsciously optimistic the twenty dollar note will reveal itself when I eventually arrive at Cape Verde, and am able to pour out all of the contents of my backpack.
For some reason I overestimated how much time I had before the day of the flight. I had just emerged from like an hour long warm immersion in the bathtub of the Berlin apartment. I opened up my computer, still dripping from the bath, only to realise I had a Cape Verde flight in about thirty minutes. The panic was intense. I eventually got to the airport about fifteen to twenty minutes late. The nice lady at the reception kept telling me in the most placative of terms that there was nothing that could be done about it. No flight, no refund, nothing.
It was one of the very highly discounted flights so I think the refund policies were a lot less well-defined. Something like that.
I scribble some lines of what could be called poetry on a piece of paper.
Somehow I find myself in a conversation with a guy. He is on his way back to his country of origin after an extended period of time as a missionary on an island in Cape Verde. I think it was Mozambique. A few years later I would check him up on Facebook to realize that he now had a baby boy – a subtle (or maybe not so subtle) alert that I had now entered the age group of people who were beginning to have children.
We are walking through a luxury items store at the airport, browsing through the interesting looking female bags and high-heel shoes that line the posh hangers which seem to go all the way to the ceiling. A few weeks ago I would probably have been having thoughts in the direction of buying something here for someone who occupied a special position in my life- in my heart, but not now. Not anymore. The thought hurts. My heart hurts. I need to think about something else.
I am in a conversation with a woman advertising some luxury personal effects. She is telling me about the Brazilian fashion designer that came up with the ideas for the items. I am listening to her voice and following her explanations, entranced by her red lipstick.
You just keep talking please. Just keep talking, you interesting Portuguese woman. Keep telling me about this evidently very remarkable Brazilian fashion designer that came up with the ideas for all of this cool stuff. Please keep talking so I can be calmed by the sound of your voice and the sight of your red lipstick and not feel too immensely perturbed by all of the uncertainty in my immediate future. Oh you want to give me your card? Please give me. Oh yes thank you very much. You keep going. You just keep going.
At the Lisbon airport checkpoint I saw the line for the travellers who were headed to Madagascar. There was a guy with very long dreadlocks being attended to by the immigration officer. I wondered what it would feel like to be on that line. Headed to Madagascar. I just wondered.
It is gradually getting dark. My Mozambican companion left to catch his flight a number of hours ago. I think I’ve been to every publicly accessible part of this airport. I spent most of my four euros on a cup of coffee and a croissant earlier in the day. I’m lying down on a small sofa at what seems to be the children’s playground section of the airport. The colour theme is lemon and purple, thereabouts. There is no one around to give me any judging stares.
I keep waiting for the flight to Cape Verde.
This post is directly connected with a number of others. An index of these other posts can be accessed here.