The beginning- aka welcome to JFK
So, there I was, at the most famous airport in the world, wearing only my skinny jeans, tank top and a lip-gloss, completely lost in this chaos, just like my luggage. I was cursing in my mother tong, but I think people got it anyway. There is no poker face good enough to hide that you’re pissed off and scared at the same time. Or maybe there is, but since I’m not the fucking Alice in wonderland, how would I know? My wonderland was JFK, Air Company had no idea where my suitcase was and I had no fucking idea how to get out of this enormous space shuttle of airport. It said EXIT on every corner, but no, no, no, you better don’t go there cause you may definitely get lost and end up living there like that Tom Hanks guy in the movie.
A blonde lady with a robotic tone politely apologized in her air company’s behalf and informed me that my “…inconveniences are noted and we are doing the best we can to find your luggage. If you would please be seated in a waiting area, and give us a couple of minutes, I’m sure your suitcase will be found and brought to you shortly.” Three hours passed and blonde lady still sticking to her fake smile informed me with the same information and even got the nerve to thank me for my patience. I guess, a yelling person with a red face and a thyroid glances visible from the gate across the airport can still be called a patient person in America. So, as long as we don’t shoot anyone, I suppose we can be mistaken for dalai lamas here.
-“Listen Siri, I don’t give a damn for your plastic smile and blond hair, nor your “understanding”. I’m waiting here for more than three hours and I want to see my suitcase now.”-
-“Like I said, I understand your inconveniences, but there is nothing for as at this point but to wait. There is no need to be rude and call names, I’m here to help you…”
-“You’re here to help my ass!”-
-“Let’s just calm ourselves down”- she said, giving the subtle signal to the security guy behind me.-“We don’t want any troubles, do we? Things can be fixed in no time, I am just asking you for a little patience, ma’am.” –
-“I’m not your ma’am, psycho. Can’t you see I’m younger than you, and you can still be called missy, missy.”- I yelled, but when I felt the belly of a security guy, rubbing of my back, I lowered my voice instantly. I really didn’t want to end up in jail on my first night in the US. Security guy warned me in a rough voice not to make any troubles while Blondie shifted to the mother-mode and once again, but with much more compassion, tried to assure me that everything will be fine. She asked me again for some address that she could send my luggage to after it’s found, so I had to explain her again that I didn’t have it yet. She and the security guy exchanged the same look, for which I found out later, meant “My god, this girl is gonna end up sleeping on the bench in the park tonight.”, but I lived in the bliss of the ignorance for the next couple of hours, so I didn’t worry about it.
I was too nervous to stay there any longer so I gave those EXIT signs one more chance, I had to have a smoke. Looking for a way out felt longer than the luggage search, but finally, a non-air-conditioned air in my lungs mixed with toxic taxi gases and a cigarette smoke. I could breathe at last. My new reality felt like a mistake. I played that lottery ticket just for laughs. I didn’t have any real intentions to come to this stupid, confusing country in a first place. It takes forever for them to find my rags at the airport and they think of themselves as superior to the rest of the world, what a load of crap. But, I finally took initiative, I guess nicotine did its spa magic and cleared my thoughts. I connected to the airport’s Wi-Fi and decided to look for a place to spend the night. I needed something just for one night at least so I can give an address to the Blondie. So I looked. I googled and googled, but I ran into the same problems I had back home; everything was too god damn expensive or occupied. Only difference was, the procrastination time has expired. I was there in the middle of a foreign country and I didn’t have any place to sleep. How stupid was I? My mom was totally right for nagging me about it, and my dad was on a good track thinking somebody might stab me or shoot me. Yep, it’s gonna happen, and on my very first night, I thought. At that point jail cell looked more appealing than ever.
A large shadow blocked a little sun ray in front of me and interrupted my sad contemplations. It was that security guy.
-“Where are you from?”-
-“None of your concerns, mister. You’re blocking my sunny spot.”-
-“A “sunny spot?”-
-“Yeah. See that sun ray behind you? Well, it’s behind you”.- He didn’t move, I rolled my eyes.-“You must’ve been a really tough guy, blocking the sunlight to a little Eastern European foreigner like that. Aren’t you?”- He sat on a bench behind us and lit a cigarette.
-“Eastern Europe, you say? Russia?”-
-“I’m not from Eastern Europe, alright…”-
-“Then where are you from?”-
-“It doesn’t matter. What do you want?”-
-“It does matter if you’re Russian and we make a deal.”-
-“What kind of deal?”-
-“Are you Russian?”-
-“Would that be a good thing or a bad thing?”- He didn’t say anything. –“Okay, I am not Russian. What’s the deal?”- My nose started running.
-“Here, take this, your nose is bleeding.”- Before I had the time to say anything, I wiped my nose and saw a blood trace on his pale blue handkerchief.
-“Do you snort?”-
-“I don’t know…How could I tell when I’m asleep?”-
-“I meant cocaine, do you snort cocaine or something?”-
-“Oh, you mean because of the blood…no, I’m not a junkie. Why? Is that also important for the deal- If I’m a Russian junkie, no imaginary deal for me?” – He just nodded and confirmed my words with a puff. –“My nose bleeds sometimes, when I’m upset. It’s some capillary thing, I don’t know how to explain it in English.”-
-“Don’t worry, they will find your suitcase, it happens all the time.”-
-“Oh yeah? But that can take forever and what am I suppose to do till then-live at the airport like Tom Hanks?”-I was upset again. And my nose wouldn’t stop bleeding.
-“Like you have somewhere to go?”-I opened my mouth to say something snappy about it, but then I remembered he overheard my conversation with Blondie, so I didn’t say anything. -“I rent a house in Brooklyn. Few people already live there, but I think they can make a room for one more, for a few days. Only until you find something else. And you will find something else, very soon.”- He didn’t say that in a comforting but in a threatening kid of way, as in if you’re not gonna be gone from my house in three days, you’ll be gone for good. You know-dead gone, gone. But he wasn’t scary or anything. He just didn’t have that creepy vibe you see in some people on a TV. You don’t want to mess with him, that’s for sure, but you can tell he’s not going to kill you in your sleep. Still, I didn’t want to take my chances. He is a stranger after all.
-“Here’s your handkerchief. Thank you.”- I held my hand out like that for a while, but he didn’t take it back. Instead, he gave me his Security Agency card.
-“My number is on the back, when you change your mind.”- He finished his smoke and went back inside. I didn’t say anything, I just took the card.