Dorothee Lang works as an undercover agent for overdue intermediate
transmissions, has web dreams on a weekly basis and believes in
no coincidence and cotangents. Her work has appeared in The Sunday Herald,
The Mississippi Review, Pedestal Magazine, Drunken Boat and Cafe Irreal,
among others. She edits the travel magazine subside.zine and lives in Germany..
It's a Monday, but
the airport isn't busy. There are no lines in front of the security check. There are no delays
either. Flight number LX 1169 will depart at the scheduled time, 13.55 to be precise. From the
number of empty seats at the gate, you can tell that the flight won't be full. It probably
won't even be half full, which is good for the passengers. There will be a window seat
available for everyone.
One of the passengers,
a woman wearing a black shirt and black trousers, already has her ticket ready. She is holding
it in her right hand, even though
it is more than twenty minutes to check-in time. On the seat next to her, she put her black
bag. There is something wrong with the bag. A bit of fabric is coming off. With her left hand,
she tries to rip the piece away. It would be easier to do this with the right hand, but she
doesn't want to let go off the ticket, not for one second.
|"She turns her
face, he turns his face. For a moment, their eyes focus on the same spot, but nothing
Two rows further, almost opposite of her, there is a man
in a red shirt. He is sitting, waiting. His right hand rests on his right cheek; his left
hand rests on his left upper leg. His ticket is still stored away.
A noise outside. A luggage car is passing by. She turns
her face, he turns his face. For a moment, their eyes focus on the same spot, but nothing
happens. The luggage car moves on. She stares at her ticket again. He leans back, closing his
eyes. They aren't even aware of each other, it seems.
* * *
The gate opens two
minutes after the scheduled check-in time. The woman in the black shirt and the black
trousers is the first in line.She also is the first to walk through the gate, and the first
to enter the bus. He is sixth.
In the bus, they sit next to each other. In her right hand,
she is now holding the boarding pass, and a yellow American English dictionary. In his right
hand, he is holding the belt of a duffle bag. The bag is dark blue. There are crocodile
stickers on it. The stickers don't show crocodiles, they just have the word "Crocodile"
written in red on them. It's the same red as his shirt.
The bus doesn't take long. The woman and the man don't
talk while they sit next to each other. When the bus stops, she is the first to get out of
it, the first to get into the plane. He is thirteenth.
Her seat number in the plane is 8A.
His seat number is 4F. Still they are just 5 seats apart. It is a small plane; there are
only A, D and F seats. No B, C or E. There also is no row 13. He turns only once, but she
It is a short flight. No food is served, just drinks. She
has an orange juice. He has a coke. The fasten seatbelt signs are turned on again for landing
before the stewardess collects the empty plastic cups. There is only one person sitting in the
first four rows. A man in a business suit. He doesn't get up when the plane has reached the
parking position. Thus the man in the red shirt and with the crocodile bag is the first to
The bus that is waiting in front of the plane is painted
with palm trees. The man in the red shirt chooses a seat in the
middle of the bus. The woman
in the black shirt and black trousers sits in the back row, on the left side, like before.
No one can sit behind her this way, everyone is in front of her. This could be the reason
for choosing the seat. Or maybe she took it because it is next to the door. On the way to
the terminal, another bus crosses their way. There is cheese painted on it.
change her pace. He doesn't show any sign of recognition either. They have
nothing in common, anyway. Nothing, but this flight on the same day at the same time to the
When the bus stops, she is second to get out, but first
again to enter the building. She is also first to reach the transit board that lists all
connecting flights. Her ticket in her right hand, she stands there. Her eyes are searching
for her destination. The next passengers arrive at the board. They, too, take a look at the
list, and walk on. When the man in the red shirt walks by, she is still standing there. In
the end, she is the last one to step on the escalator that leads from the flight board to the
She turns to the left when she reaches the first floor
and walks past a coffee corner. The man in the red shirt is standing there, a cup in his hand.
She doesn't change her pace. He doesn't show any sign of recognition either. They have nothing
in common, anyway. Nothing, but this flight on the same day at the same time to the same place.