Passport dilemma

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Passport – A short story

Oh the thrill of travelling, making lists, buying stuff and then packing. Gayle was finally set for  the final departure. Given her nature she was ticking of every item as it went into the bags. Satisfied she had everything in – she smiled at her parents, beaming at her. Her first flight out, without tagging behind her parents. At fourteen, an international conference meet was what she was invited to attend. The lone person from her zone. The reason being, her essay and project idea for lands prone to drought and famine had received international accolades.

Her parents were extremely glad that she was chosen but a bit apprehensive since she would be travelling alone. Although Gayle was no stranger to travelling, it had always been with them. But they knew at the same time she would be fine. She was a reliable girl.

“Gayle , your passport and here’s some cash too, in case you need it” said her father as he handed over the passport and cash to her.

“Have you checked everything Gayle, what about the prayer book I gave you?” joined in her mother”.

“Yes ma, it’s in my bag”.

“Don’t forget to pray” she added.

Gayle smiled at her. Then she looked at the time, her heart was racing, just a few hours more to go, she was wondering if she would fall asleep that night. The phone was going ‘ping..ping..’ every few seconds. She checked the messages, called a few of her friends, gushing and chattering all the while as they spoke.

She had hardly slept when her alarm rang and her mom entered the room to wake her up. Pulling off the sheet, she was up in a jiffy. Hurrying into the bathroom, getting dressed, trying to sip the coffee her mother handed.

“Gayle, are you done? Hurry up” that was her Dad.

Finally there they were out in the car towards the airport.”Hope you have your passport and ticket on you?”

“Yes Dad” replied Gayle as she fixed the seat belt around her.

“Don’t forget to call us, whenever possible” from her mother.

“Of course, ma, don’t worry, I certainly will”.

“And don’t get too friendly with strangers” mother again

She hugged her ma from behind the seat. “Rest easy, ma”

Thus talking, they carried on.

Gayle was now relaxed, her check-in completed with the boarding pass in hand, she had time to look around.  A couple smooching. A man pacing up and down. There were two kids walking behind an elderly couple, trying to match their walk. She couldn’t help smiling at their impudence while she dived into her bag for her book.

Finally the call to board. She made a quick call to her mother to inform she was boarding. Then up, up and away she would go.

Her flight was a very pleasant one, her co-passenger was the gentleman pacing up and down. He had a connecting flight to catch and was hoping to be on time for his daughters wedding.

Arriving at the terminal, she headed towards immigration control. The woman officer guiding the passengers looked towards her “Keep your travel documents in hand, before you arrive at the desk” as she she smiled. Gayle smiled back at her, wondering at the same time, what other travel documents should I be having, but before she could ask her she had moved to the other line. There was no one in front of her nor behind her.

As  she approached the counter, the man pleasantly asked her, “Your travel document, miss”

Gayle’s heart was beating fast; Had she missed something? She had asked all possible questions regarding check-in and check-outs at the airport as well as hotels. 

“I have only my passport, sir”

“Yes, yes, passport, miss, the same”

“Oh” Gayle was relieved. For a moment she was rattled, at the same time she chided herself a while, that she did not understand the simple terminology of another word being used, instead of the one she was used to hearing.

Even now, as her parents enquired about the conference, she could happily relate that everything went off exceedingly well, but for the little time that she had palpitations at the airport.

Gayle was not likely to forget that for a long time to come.

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