Airport dialogues

We received our boarding passes at the airport check-in counter and said goodbye to Ray Ban. He would have waited to see us off, but as there was an hour and a half before departure time, he capitulated and left. We went into the airport restaurant and had an early lunch. Cream dory on garlic butter for me, Jollibee spaghetti for her. I watched the Airbuses take flight and swoop down to earth with a gravity that seemed fated. Meanwhile, she dubiously inspected each strand of the sweet spaghetti she ate.

“I thought that they always served meals on planes,” Z said, disgruntled.
“Nope,” I said, waiting for the hot lump of fillet in my mouth to cool down, then gulping down some water. No taste but hot.
“Meals only on international flights. They give you something to eat on longer domestic routes. Not exactly what you’d call a special treat, though.”
“And movies?”
“No way. C’mon, it’s only an hour and a half to Davao.”
“Then they give you nothing.”
“Nothing at all. You sit in your seat, read your book, and arrive at your destination. Same as by bus.”
“But no traffic lights.”
“No traffic lights.”
“Just great,” she said with a sigh. She put down her fork, leaving half the spaghetti untouched.
“The thing is you get there faster. It takes... I dunno, 12 hours probably, by boat and bus.”
“And where does the extra time go?”

I also gave up halfway through my meal and ordered two coffees.
“Extra time?”
“You said planes save you over ten hours. So where does all that time go?”
“Time doesn’t go anywhere. It only adds up. We can use those ten hours as we like, in Manila or in Davao. With ten hours we could see four movies, eat two meals, whatever. Right?”
“But what if I don’t want to go to the movies or eat?”
“That’s your problem. It’s no fault of time.”

She bit her lip as we looked out at the squat bodies of the Airbus A330s in the runway. Airbus always reminds me of a fat, ugly old lady in the neighborhood where I used to live. Huge sagging breasts, swollen legs, dried-up neckline. The airport, a likely gathering place for the old ladies. Dozens of them, coming and going, one after the other. The pilots and stewardesses, strutting back and forth in the lobby with heads held high, seemed quaintly planar.

“Well,” she went on, “does time expand?”
“No, time does not expand,” I answered. I had spoken, but why didn’t it sound like my voice? I coughed and drank my coffee. “Time does not expand.”
“But time is actually increasing, isn’t it? You yourself said that time adds up.”
“That’s only because the time needed for transit has decreased. The sum total of time doesn’t change. It’s only that you can see more movies.”
“If you wanted to see movies,” she added.
As soon as we arrived in Davao, we actually did see a double feature.

The entire flight, she sat by the window and looked down at the scenery. I sat next to her reading my Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Not a single cloud in the sky the whole time, the airplane riding on its shadow over the earth. Or more accurately, since we were in the plane, our shadows figured as well inside the shadow of the airplane skimming over mountain and field. Which would mean we too were imprinted into the earth.

“Why didn’t you give our rock a name all this time?”
“Why indeed,” I puzzled. Then I closed the book and placed it in my side. “I think I just don’t like
names. Basically, I can’t see what’s wrong with calling me ‘me’ or you ‘you’ or us ‘us’ or them ‘them.’”
“Hmm,” she said. “I do like the word ‘we,’ though. It has an Ice Age ring to it.”

“Ice Age?”
“Like ‘We go south’ or ‘We hunt mammoth’ or …”

When we stepped outside at Francisco Bangoy International Airport, the air was chillier than we’d expected, and to think it was summer. I pulled a denim shirt over my T-shirt, she a knit vest over her shirt.

“We weren’t supposed to run into an Ice Age, were we?” she asked on the bus to the metro. “You hunting
mammoths, me raising children.”

“Sounds positively inviting,” I said.

Thaks renz of for the accurate information on things about Davao.
My trip did not push through with this one.

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