From the minute Daniel and I left the airport from California, everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. I don’t know how it happened but somehow we only had an hour left to finish off our bags. I had most of what I was going to bring in my bags, not to mention a carry on and a shoulder bag, but I hadn’t closed the large bag nor weighted it yet. It ended up being way too heavy that I had to reopen, empty some clothes out, and then close, several times over and over. The rush was intense when we started closing in on 3PM and we still hadn’t finished; our flight being at 7PM. It was mostly me really, I say ‘we’ like it was Daniel and I but Daniel was packed way before he got to California, obviously. I hate it when people have to wait on me.
Afterwards, we grabbed whatever cab we could and bolted to the airport. Everyone else was too busy to take us to the airport so then that took time and money away from us. Time we can’t afford to lose.
“Finally!” I sighed, exhausted already. “Can’t believe we made it in time.”
Daniel smiled. “Me neither. But time isn’t up yet. We still have to check-in.”
We ran to the counter and waited for the Emirates representative to wave us over whenever she was ready. To our surprise, there was no line. It wasn’t just a few people; there was no people. I found it so strange considering I’ve always seen some form of a line.
Daniel and I were arguing in the car to see if they’d allow us to check-in our bags with just one person being there or not. Daniel said that they could; I disagreed.
“I have a question,” I said to the woman, “can one of us stay here and check-in our bags while the other isn’t present?”
The woman, whose skin was a flawless white, lips thinly painted red, a long shallowed face, blinked at me as if I asked Einstein what two plus two was.
“No,” she said, “everyone has to be present.”
There was suddenly an awkward pause in the conversation and I realised that I may have not given her my passport just yet.
“Oh, passport?” I smiled, apologetically.
The woman widened her eyes for just a fraction while she stared at me. “Yes, well that is what I mean when I asked for your passport, isn’t it?”
I was taken aback by her rancid tone and her chilly disposition. Honestly, did she have to give me attitude? “Sorry, I didn’t hear you.”
“Otherwise we won’t be able to check you in and you won’t be able to go on your trip, now would you?” the woman continued, smiling. Her eyes shined full of pride.
Daniel narrowed his eyes. “Yes, thank you for that obvious information. Carry on.”
Daniel knew I hated the words ‘carry on’ when it came to a person working in a customer service industry. But this woman was just oddly and randomly annoyed at me that it was the only thing that made her get right back into her place and actually be nice. Anyone could have misheard her; anyone could have misheard anything.
When I was first bartending, I was a wreck. I came to be one of the best, but at the very start, when I was nervous and new to the industry, I was all over the place. I misheard so many times, that I considered that I might have been losing my hearing. But hardly anyone snapped at me. And sometimes people misheard me that I never, honestly, never snapped at anyone. I took it with humour. The difference between this woman and I was that she took this little bump in the road with an arrogant annoyance; I took it with a relaxed humour.
“Okay,” Daniel exhaled as we found a table at a restaurant. “I’m glad that’s done.”
“Can I look at the ticket please?” I asked. Daniel kept it on him to hide it from me, to continue the surprise.
Daniel smiled, shaking his head.
“When am I going to know?”
“On the plane probably. I don’t think I’ll be able to hide it from you then.”
I laughed. “I’m actually so spatially unaware sometimes that it’s possible for you to hide the surprise until the very end.”
“On the plane you’ll know, even if that means I tell you,” he said, chuckling.
I hadn’t eaten before we left because we left in such a hurry, that as soon as the food came, I was vacuuming the contents of the plate like an animal. I hardly ever spoke to Daniel because I, ironically, was so consumed by the food.
“When are we supposed to leave?” I asked him the one time I came up for air.
“Six o’clock. Don’t worry, we got time.” He checked his phone. “Half an hour, but boarding isn’t until later.”
I nodded and then continued eating. I finished with just enough time to wash up and then leave.
“Are you excited?” Daniel asked, his arm wrapped around my waist.
I nodded. “I’m beaming. Especially after that food.”
Daniel laughed. “You just can’t operate without a full stomach.”
I shrugged. “I can’t help it.”
Daniel was one of those freaks that doesn’t even think about food until his stomach is groaning like a Lion. It would be a gift for me, because once I start thinking about food, I could never stop. It’s all I’d be aiming for.
All I wanted to do was check out duty free. We were travelling internationally, and for some reason everything started to look ten times more amazing and glamorous. Daniel and I ended up splitting up and I went straight for the creams. I had been searching for a really good moisturising hand cream that absorbed well, but never got around to finding anything. I started chatting with the Clinique representative when I realised that Daniel wasn’t even in the vicinity. Luckily he told me the gate number, so I wasn’t worried when I was lifted up onto the chair and the rep started putting make-up on me.
The woman was Japanese; I was always jealous that most Japanese women, or at least the ones I have met, have the most flawless skin. Is that what Beyonce was thinking of when she wrote ***Flawless? Pale skin, a wide face, and high prominent cheek bones accentuated by the pink on her cheeks.
She was explaining the best qualities of the eyeliner she was applying above my eyelid when I heard a boarding call announcement. One in which it was a country I was not familiar with before but had wanted to experience since practically everyone I knew went there; however, I did have an odd feeling, so I checked my bag for my phone. Seven missed calls, all from Daniel.
I hopped off my chair while the rep was still applying eyeliner in such a jolt that I accidentally got poked in the eye. Luckily, it was on the surface of the eye instead of right inside. But still, it really hurt. Not to mention I was left with a thick black line on my eyelid.
“Thank you, sorry, I have to go, thank you!” I breathed out in a huff.
“I’m so sorry,” she said.
“It’s fine, thank you!” I called out as I ran away towards the gate.
I was looking for the gate number and Daniel at the same time, wondering if he’d actually gone back to look for me. Thankfully I spotted him, and he was waving both of his arms in the air like a mad man. But his face was the funniest feature of all because it was stretched by stress. Eyes wide, jaw tightened, and teeth bare.
“I thought we were on time?” I asked, confused.
“Apparently we board at 6PM,” Daniel said. “Turns out we didn’t have enough time to eat.”
“You guys are the last ones onto the plane,” another Emirates representative was saying. I recognised her vaguely from sitting right next to the other Emirates rep that gave me attitude. “Everyone’s waiting.”
“Sorry,” I said. “So sorry.” I was too exhausted in my rush and my brain was erratic that I didn’t care this rep was giving us attitude as much as her little friend and clearly blind to the other people, waiting around.
A young woman, dressed in all white, was busy taking selfies while she sat. Daniel told me she was here when he got there. And a couple of old Chinese woman sat down a few minutes after Daniel came, and ate some food. Then asked the lady if they could take the food onto the plane, to which the Emirates rep declined, saying they couldn’t. The last people onto the flight? Everyone’s waiting for us? Is everyone just an asshole today?
I’m not going to let it get to me though, because Daniel and I are going to one exotic location. We sat in coach of course, in a tube that was quite empty I must say; I was plotting which seats I should take to lie down and sleep if I needed to. We buckled into our seats, a couple minutes later the young woman in white came right after us. I rolled my eyes, shaking my head; reminding myself that I’m not going to let it get to me.
“I guess you know where we’re going now, huh? Daniel said.
I grinned. “Oh yeah.”
“I hope you like it, babe.”
“It’s you and I in Dubai,” I said, leaning into him, going in for a kiss and then resting my head on his shoulder. “What more could I asked for?”
“Can I asked you something?”
I was so calm, my eyes were closed and I was ready to drift off.
“What the hell happened to your eye?”