MARCH OF THE EMPEROR

25 Jan

January 24th 2011, at 4.33pm, a suicide bomber blew himself up at Domodedovo Airport in southern Moscow. The explosion killed dozens and injured hundreds, some people are still missing. At the same time, BMI flight 0891, departing from London Heathrow, hit the tarmac, not a second off schedule. According to the pilot, there was traffic on the runaway and passangers were requested to remain seated until the situation had been cleared. Twenty minutes later, they were released from the plane.

— — —

Despite the growing queues at passport control, the guards faces remained impassible, whilst their eyes betrayed the boredom inherent to their position. Orderly lines advanced slowly towards the silver gates. Passport in hand, desireous to fit in and denying her natural impatience, she feigned familiarity with the customs of their country as she pushed through to Arrivals.

A grey haze stagnated lazily in the lounge whilst twenty bags rode the gaily around the luggage belt, waiting patiently for their owners. “It’s never been this bad” chorused the well versed ex pats as the bitter sweet smell of quenched fireworks crept inevitably deeper into their nasal passages. Unbeknownst to her, this floating fragrance was the mist of an infinite number of human particles and the undeniable bitter sweet stench of death. As such, she and her fellow companions had become the unfortunate cannibals of an unnamed human catastrophe.

Flight 0891’s cargo eventually flowed into the sea of solitary luggage, breathing life back into the jaded passangers. One by one, she watched them trickle away towards their individual destinies. Yearning to meet her own future head on, she skirted around the over zealous cleaning staff and their oversized mops, advancing as one with the human stream. Their natural pace was abused by sharp blasts of heavy machinery and their ever growing hope was quelled by the heavy lidded stare of an expectant wall of armed Russian soldiers. A mass of electrical wires dangled playfully, like a well rehearsed invitation into the unknown.

The authenticity of the scene was a comfort to the Westerners’ centuries old prejudice. The queues, sullen guards and stakanovist mooping crew were very fitting. The industrial strength machinery, shattered overhead and crumbling walls all pointed to the shoddy craftmanship expected of an ex communist country.

Unfazed and unabashed in her condescendingly over-romanticised and inadvertently, yet blatenty prejudiced vision of her long sought after destination, she had arrived.

She was there to stay.

*PS> I am not harbouring any latent post traumatic stress, but I do have a lot of time on my hands…

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