Night Trip

Past eight thirty in the evening. Inside a plane. In the air. Some faint light below. Must already be above Mindanao island. Destination is a city at its butt.

Restless. Too much caffeine I can feel it pounding against the veins in my neck. Read the newspaper from the headlines to the business section to the entertainment news. Still restless. Tried to close my eyes and willed my brain to sleep. No use.

I’ve always enjoyed being in an airport and inside a plane. Not today. Tonight, I just feel lonely. Maybe traveling for work does not work for me anymore. It’s just exhausting, and it hasn’t even begun for this trip. I’m getting old. In this dark cabin, I feel old.

The city lights winked at the aircraft as it took off from Manila an hour ago. Cars hurried along road arteries. Buildings pierced the sunless sky. I imagined myself looking at the night lights of a foreign city I would be visiting for the first time. Always, the trips would touch down at ungodly hours; dirt-cheap flights are that way. For a moment, I was able to fool myself. For a moment, the melancholy went away and I could feel happy about this journey. But just for a moment. It’s thirty minutes before the plane lands, and the gloom is almost unbearable.

I cannot wait for this day to end. To get to the hotel. To crash onto the bed. To let sleep take me.

The plane descends. Just a few more minutes and the mask can fall.