Meet Me In The Teenage Years, I’ll Be The One With Acne

There is a folder on my laptop called Stories and I never open it. It is filled with documents dating back to primary school days. Little ramblings and tales, half finished words and childish emotions.

This story I wrote for English class. I know that much but I don’t know how old I was or what year it was. I think it’s quite sweet, although it has an oddly British tone which I cannot explain.

I work in an airport. Have ever since I left school. Well, maybe left isn’t quite the right word. Dropped out may be a better phrase. I’m not anything fancy like a pilot or an air hostess. I’d love to be an air hostess though, with those cute little uniforms they wear. Do you notice how, even after a 14 hour flight, air hostesses still have perfect hair and perfect makeup and perfect clothes? And they always have nice nails too. Long and shiny and shaped just right, the way I can never get mine to go because I always file too much on one side. I’ve met a lot of air hostesses in my job. Some of them don’t talk to me because I’m just a cleaner, but some do. They tell me funny stories about all their passengers and what they get up to. Some of those air hostesses are really nice, but there’s one especially. Her name is Monique.

Monique is the most wonderful person I have ever met. She’s the same age as me (that’s thirty- two) but you wouldn’t know it if we stood next to each other. She’s tall and blonde and looks like Miss World. Monique is the kind of girl who could have any man she wanted. And all men want her, no exaggeration. But aside from being beautiful she is also very smart. Do you know how I know this? It is because of something she once said to me. I remember it like it was yesterday, though of course it wasn’t. We were standing in the ladies room and Monique was putting on a fresh coat of Berry Blaze lipstick. I think I may have been crying a little because Marky had just walked out, leaving me and the baby and that was why Monique said what she said. Jeannie, she said, life is just like an airport. People come and go all the time. And whichever which way they’re going, they’re always carrying a little baggage. Now, is that not the wisest thing you’ve ever heard? It was for me.

And it’s true, you know. Life is just like an airport. I have stood in life’s Terminal A and kissed hello many people, each carrying their own little baggage, whether it be a broken heart or a guilty secret, and just as often I’ve waved goodbye to them through the window in Terminal B. The same window I clean, funnily enough. But would you like to hear something really sad? Monique wasn’t completely right with what she said. It’s not everybody’s life that’s an airport. It’s only mine. I’ve worked my whole life in this airport but I’ve never even been in an airplane. So, it’s only me who is an airport. Everyone else is an airplane. It’s not me who leaves. It’s people like my daddy and my Marky and even Monique. I waved goodbye to Monique one day when she was flying to Spain. She was flying off to get married to one of her passengers. I haven’t seen or heard from her again. But it don’t matter too much. She was just another departure, and I see hundreds of departures everyday when I’m cleaning Terminal B.

You know what I always like to remember, to cheer myself up when I’m thinking about all my departures? I like to think of my arrivals, like my little daughter. With every plane that leaves this airport another one comes in. You never know who might be stepping onto your tarmac this very minute, waiting to kiss you hello.

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