The promise and loneliness of airports


You're sitting at a starbucks, drinking a double espresso—long, cos it lasts longer. Your flight is two hours away and you've already passed through security, taken off your belt, smiled nervously even though you had no reason to be nervous. Security does that to you...although not as much as it used to. These miles add up after all. Your gate is at the very end of the airport —64—until it changes; probably to Gate 5. But hey.,,,exercise right?
Ding dong.
You've always wondered why so many people get called over those intercoms. The special ones. That chime will ring and ring—it never stops. And some of these special ones get called over and over again...they can't be busy doing something else can they? It's an airport...dreary and tedious and made to break you before those dreams of travel take hold.  Hey maybe that's it: these people have simply dissolved within themselves. They've lost all ability to react, forgotten their own names. 

Yeah. Sounds about right.


After all the cheers and enthusiasm, the packing pics and the social banter, one thing remains, regardless: the ambivalence of leaving. It hits me every. single. time. Sure it's exciting to travel, all these images waiting to be seen, waiting to become. Adventure is a rush, a chemical boost as drug-like as heroin. And eventually you crave it, in spite of yourself. You long for the promise of the unseen. I'm not going to whine...I'm one lucky son of a &$(@. I get to do stuff others dream of, get to shoot for a living, get published. I can't even pretend at a pity party.

But right now, as I sip these last few drops of coffee and write these words, under the sterile glare of sodium lights...a loneliness overcomes me. It's that in-between state before jet fumes and strange surroundings. That moment when you think of your kids and your wife, of the possibility of never returning.

Airports are like that.
Full of hopes and uncertainties.


Patrick La Roque

laROQUE, 311 Lorncliff, Otterburn Park, Canada