Years ago, at the start of the internet era, I booked a flight from Regina to Vancouver, with a brief touch-down in Calgary. When we arrived in Calgary, it became apparent that we weren’t going to be moving on so quickly. This rather long and unplanned delay seemed to have an interesting effect on the passengers. It was if their lives had genuinely stopped once the plane had stopped, and that their lives would start up again when they were up in the air and moving towards their destinations. I sat in a chair and wrote down what I witnessed.

The plane touches down,
a brief stop turns into a delay
then a longer delay
one by one, we trudge off
to airport land
YYC, YQR, YVR, whatever
– We wait.
Adults stuck to leather chairs
Adults stuck on screens
I watch the babies among them
who don’t have an agenda
who aren’t stuck yet
– waiting
I see a boy, an old-fashioned boy
with a ball cap on backwards
with rumpled clothes draped over
skinny elbows and bony knees
with legs dangling back and forth
he cradles his cell and explains the delay
to a mom or a dad in the distance
– a boy in between
a shade less free than the babies in slings
a shade more free than the zombies on screens
– he is teetering
soon he’ll learn that he is waiting
– waiting
to get back on a plane
so life can resume once again

by our guest writer Karen McKinnon

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