Brief Encounter

The thing about airports is you meet so many people from so many different walks of life. Some are in a hurry, some are harried. But if you have time to spare, it becomes like a small village.

There are some who have a pen ready to borrow from and who will willingly keep a watchful eye on your bag while you use the bathroom. They are the ones who are looking for friendships and have a ready smile. At times they have matted hair and gypsy pants, bangles and nose pins. They have surrendered to the transitory life totally comfortable being migratory.

There are some whose plans have been messed up and their whole focus is to get to their destination. These are the travellers whose caravan is in transit. They can be heard making complaints, phone calls, forward journey bookings and cancellations and are perhaps the most troubled ones.

Then there are some you find with a book in their lap about the country they are going to visit or have visited with curious eyes and deep interests about culture and connections to the past and to the future.

This was the kind of person I came by, a Swiss gentlemen with a rather heavy duty History of Georgia book in his lap that seemed a little daunting. We smiled at one another knowing the book reading needed a break.

Fate brought our seats together in-flight and on the bus to the terminal building. We carried on talking through security checks and to the gates.

Mundane pleasantries of where we worked, the holidays we took, our families back home and a journey we would like to recommend to one another.

We will never see one another but a brief encounter makes a trip memorable. I told my family about his and I bet he will do the same. We will not remember anything else, except 2 strangers met at an airport and a conversation made all the difference.

Funny enough, it was at Istanbul Airport and the flight attendant had made an announcement calling it the ‘meeting point of the world’ – most appropriate in every sense of the word.

I didn’t even ask his name and he didn’t either. We shook hands and bid farewell.

Airports are reminders that life is but a journey and we are all travellers.

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