Today I’ll be returning to my Yaad (Jamaica). I love being in airports but this wasn’t always the case. I felt it was only fitting that I shared the traumatic story of my first time being at the airport. I wrote the story a year ago for my public speaking class. Enjoy!
Crisp white socks; folded neatly at the ankles. Shiny black shoes. A denim dress that flared at the waist with a rounded lapel. My mother completed the look by putting my hair in four evenly parted braids. There wasn’t a crease in sight or a hair out of place. I was ready. I was 1½ years and I was ready for my first trip by airplane.
While my mother and father juggled two suitcases and my diaper bag, my lone responsibility was to guard my stuffed kitten. This was no ordinary kitten. Pink fur, a white under belly and a long white string, courtesy of my grandmother, for a leash. After a 30 minute journey, we arrived at the airport. Mommy kissed daddy goodbye. He then kissed me on both cheeks and gently clunked our foreheads together so I wouldn’t feel left out. It was just mommy, me and my kitty now.
Despite what my mother would say, I was a well behaved baby. I walked beside her in silence taking in the hustle and bustle of the airport. This was probably my first introduction to the concept of “waiting in line”. That’s the thing with airports; lots of opportunities to wait in line. We had to queue to check in our luggage, then we had to queue for the security check.
We waited and waited until it was finally our turn. Mommy lifted her carry on and my diaper bag onto the conveyer belt. While mommy balanced monitoring her bags and conversing with security, some woman snatched my kitty. My jaw dropped as I tried to process what happened. I looked to my mother, waiting for her to defend me but she was busy with the bags. I had to take matters into my own hands.
In one swift motion, I dropped to the ground with a splat. I simultaneously kicked my feet, exposing Huggies underneath so they knew I meant business. I kicked and rolled to the right and I kicked and rolled to the left. They still hadn’t returned my kitty. I added a new move to my tantrum combo. I hollered. I had a pair of lungs and I knew how to use them. The entire airport waited with baited breath for my stuffed animal to be returned.
The conveyer belt had swallowed my kitten and was taking its own sweet time with the digestion process. I was kicking and rolling and screaming at the top of my lungs. My mother was frozen in shock and appreciative of the sympathetic looks she was receiving. The poor attendants ran from my mother to myself then the conveyer belt, unsure of what to do next.
The scanner finally spat out my kitty and the security personnel passed it around like a game of hot potato to get it back to me as quickly as possible. The same woman who had taken my toy returned it and apologized profusely. I stopped my tantrum mid-roll, got up and took it from her. Wearing one shoe, I hopped passed my mother. She scrambled to retrieve my other shoe and any other article of clothing I might have dislodged in my fit.I didn’t know where I was going but I knew it was away from catnappers, stuffed toy eating machines and baffled onlookers. My mother chased behind me and swiftly pulled the back of my dress down to cover my diaper.
Despite what my mother would say, I was a well behaved baby… unless provoked.