Message in a Bottle

Uncategorized / Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Saturday. Two classes that were such a waste. The first class barely a student turned up. Mr Ni came and looked around and was I think, embarrassed beyond belief. After all, it was he who insisted on these bizarre Saturday classes! Watched another round of movies. But the real movie was just beginning. Only just beginning.

Ruby and her friend Tina turned up along with our faithful taxi driver to escort Birdie and I to the airport. Sanya! Could it be true? Beaches and sea! The taxi ride to the airport was hilarious enough with the lad taking an instant liking to Ruby! The three of them saw us off till check-in time at the airport. And the airport. Ah! What is it about airports that seem to draw me time and time again? The rush of travel…all those places in electronic mode. The whroom of the engines. The take-offs and the landings. Life in constant motion. Perhaps, that’s what I love about airports. It’s always alive. Flying with life.

A three-way flight across land and sea and there it was – Sanya, this island by the sea. The air is balmy once I step outside. Air that is stinging with salt. And sweating with heat. The change from Xuchang’s cold climes could not be starker. The flight was delayed by almost an hour and the driver sent to pick us up was waiting outside. He was holding a placard with my name written on it. Long been one dream of mine to have someone wait at the airport for me with my name :-). Sunny smiles from Sanya though he certainly wasn’t sporting. Birdie and I sat at the back. Looking back now, I wonder why, as is my wont, didn’t seat myself in the front. The taxi swirled through the road. Speed was its mantra. The driver seemed upset about something. Talking on the phone constantly. And fiddling around with other papers with other names. That awful feeling I get that something is bound to happen made its way slowly through my throat again. Afraid to articulate it…for fear that it may be true. I need not have worried. By now, I should know that this awful feeling is always true.

Seconds later, the driver slams the brake. Caught in the car’s headlights is a cyclist. In a frightening slow motion of speed, the car thuds into the cyclist. He careens over, smashes against the bumper, and rolls over to the ground. For one long moment, he is motionless on the ground. Two minutes later, he is up. Bleeding from the back of the head. But seemingly well enough to talk. Taxis are changed. We head to the hostel, wondering at the rude welcome that Sanya gave us. Sea or not – life doesn’t cease to happen. Nor does, it seems, the invitation of death.

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