I was at the airport enjoying a pumpkin beer while waiting for my flight. It was time to board so I headed to the gate. As I made my way through the boarding tube (jet bridge) toward the plane I noticed something was missing. Was it important? Yes; yes it was. It was my luggage.
“Oh shit!” I exclaimed, without a chance to censor myself, and began running out of the tube back into the airport, dodging past my fellow passengers. I ran so fast that I actually ran past the doorway to the terminal, nearly slamming into a glass wall while being yelled at by the boarding attendant. She was saying that I shouldn’t be ‘something something about running.’ She may have been frightened. I’m not sure.
I then repositioned myself to enter the doorway into the airport, instead of crashing into the glass partition like a zany cartoon.
“I forgot my bag!!” I yelled, certainly louder than I should have. “Give me your ticket. I’ll un-board you!” The ticket-swiping-man said, as I thought to myself, “UN-board? What does that even mean?”
I then proceeded to dart towards the pub where I had enjoyed that delightful “punkin” beer that would inevitably be my near-demise. The distance was probably a half a mile to the bar. I flew down the hallway, my heels clapping against the tile in the least subtle way possible. I cursed my boots for drawing even more attention to me than necessary.
“Look away! I’m an idiot!” I berated myself silently as I ran. Onlookers faces plastered with judgment intermingled with worry.
Turning the corner and nearly knocking over a hostess, I grabbed my unsupervised bag. I then began my rapid trek back to the gate, now with my new passenger: the elusive red carry-on. CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP I went, my red boots matching my red suitcase, like a glaring flash of jackassery streaming through the airport, as if an advertisement of ‘What Not To Do.’
I made it about 3/4 of the way back before I became winded, cursing myself for never doing enough cardio. Questioning every life choice I had ever made from birth until this point, I started picturing all the dire consequences of my actions unfolding as I slowed to catch my breath.
After what seemed like an eternity at the pace of molasses in a freezer, I forced a second wind, refusing to acquiesce. As I passed the pillar, able to view the two gate attendants about to shut me out, I began flailing my free appendages like a disheveled monkey. As I slowed my roll again to approach the ticket counter, the woman started to explain all the reasons why I was an asshole without actually calling me an asshole, which made me think she was kind of an asshole, too.
I passed through the glass opening once again, down the boarding tube, feeling victorious yet still very, very stupid. It was at this moment that I realized breathing was a thing. Oh, how it hurt! It was as if there was a pressurized metal chamber in my chest the size of a swollen grapefruit, the cold metallic sensation spreading up into my throat like a virus making it feel as fragile as glass. I placed my hand on my heart and it thumped faster than I had ever felt before as I choked for air. It felt cold and hot all at the same time, empty and full, hard as a rock but filled with swirling wind. It was confusing, and surely very dramatic.
As I made my way onto the plane and into my seat my breath tried to settle but my lungs were still enraged.
I then proceeded to cough 76 times at varying degrees of intensity over the course of the next 15 minutes. Each outburst pierced the quiet, hollow aircraft like a personal offense to everyone on board. They all hated me for it; all seventy six…consistently awkward… seemingly-never-ending…coughs.
~ The End ~