Waiting at the Airport

An old bearded man sorts though his travel documents. One is a passport. It’s not American.

He drags on a Marlboro in front of an airport.

His backpacks rest on a steel bench.

He extricates a phone and checks something.

Inside the airport, Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money” drifts through the rafters. It’s a song about a noble, industrious stripper/prostitute. They sure don’t write em’ like that anymore!

Wrens dart and dash on the sidewalk, eating seeds floated in from somewhere, riding exhaust fumes.

The man begins pulling gadgets out of one the backpacks. He checks his phone again. He lights another Marlboro.

Maybe a ride is on the way. Maybe not. Maybe he’s one of those travelers who flies to distant foreign lands and walks off the plane and out of the airport and into Cairo or Los Angeles.

I did both. My 13-mile walk out of the Los Angeles International Airport has become family legend.

The man repacks his gadgets and stashes his phone. He lights another Marlboro. He gears up his backpacks and walks away from my sight.

I wait for my friend to arrive from a flooded and fruited plain.

I wonder who’ll crawl through the rubble of this airport centuries from now.