Like her name, Mega, which means a girl who is like the clouds, Edemi Mega loved the idea of flying, suspended somewhere, grateful for the little respite even though she was nowhere near the orbit of finding an answer to where her life was headed. She would figure out what to do next when she landed. In the meantime, she watched cairns of clouds giving way to achingly blue skies out there, the patches of green and blue anchored below telling her little about where she was.
Hours later, when the familiar necklace of mountains and paddy fields shimmering in the sun came into view, and as the plane approached Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, she shut the window flap tight, regretting her decision to come home. What seemed familiar about the place she grew up in was often lost on her. She had never understood it and probably never would.
As she wended down the glass-covered aerobridge, she felt the familiar tropical heat creeping up her skin despite the chill of the air conditioning. Too much sun in this country, she thought. Not being able to stand the sudden glare of sunlight, she fished out her sunglasses from her handbag and put them on quickly.
But it wasn’t just the heat that she hated.
By the time she walked over to the luggage collection belt, it was only just starting up. From behind black flaps spewed out contents of life stories safely tucked inside each and every suitcase and parcel box — waiting to be picked up, then unpacked in a hotel or home, the story continuing from where it left off. Swept along by the bustle of passengers coming and going, she could feel the magic she always felt at the airport — teasing with promises — where you couldn’t be sure what there was out there to embrace or how you would alter your life story with an inculpable stroke when you stepped into the busy node. It fascinated her how people from different destinations all over the world would converge in the same spot, as she was at this moment in time, yet never to meet again.
Her face fresh without a trace of fatigue, in her white skater dress that barely reached her knees and a pair of casual flats, she stood, her arms folded, watching for more contents spilling out onto the belt, then looping around the winding path and disappearing into the black flaps.