Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin

April 29, 2013

After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.

Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
Did this.

I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?

The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.

She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,

Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.

She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.

Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.

Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
Questions.

She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.

To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.

And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.

And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,

With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.

Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.

They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.

Not everything is lost.

Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal.” (via awelltraveledwoman)

(Source: oliviacirce, via cherylstrayed)

Comments (View)  |  228,837 notes


blog comments powered by Disqus

Notes from others:

  1. tatsufailslife reblogged this from sauntering-vaguely-downwards
  2. anderfelon reblogged this from binkydelrey
  3. ticklefartslovebug reblogged this from gendeerfluid
  4. shaysrandomworld reblogged this from shslyandereimouto
  5. seeknotmyheart reblogged this from arenelle
  6. espey reblogged this from cl3avage
  7. valeblithe reblogged this from wolfnight2012
  8. dracacwen1066 reblogged this from purplegirl61
  9. jessepinkmanyobitch reblogged this from nakedwastaken
  10. charlie-bradburi reblogged this from ladydeleau
  11. nakedwastaken reblogged this from birdwithbrokenbones
  12. bunfoo2u reblogged this from robotfather
  13. take-me-to-bakerstreet reblogged this from pineypine
  14. purplegirl61 reblogged this from apha4me
  15. caffcatalyst reblogged this from khoshekh-yourself
  16. unc0mm0n-n0nsense reblogged this from saynotoquack
  17. birdwithbrokenbones reblogged this from smashmybox
  18. knights-of-delusion reblogged this from teddypickervevo
  19. tamikaflynnsbookclub reblogged this from pineypine
  20. somedaytillforever reblogged this from dereks-henley
  21. dapper-black-male reblogged this from teddypickervevo
  22. theindecency reblogged this from wowzamorphous
  23. wowzamorphous reblogged this from robotfather
  24. robotfather reblogged this from khoshekh-yourself
  25. khoshekh-yourself reblogged this from kawaiinic-cage
  26. confidential-ninja reblogged this from icameinlikeareichenbach
  27. teddypickervevo reblogged this from kawaiinic-cage