Storytime - Is the Child Worth It?
The time is September 2019. Coronavirus is yet to be a thing, therefore we are still allowed to travel. The place is Lisbon's airport and there, me, my parents, my uncles, my one cousin and my grandparents, are minutes away from having to board our plane.
Did we make it? Barely.
Today, I am here to tell you about the (probably) most extreme conversation I have ever had in my entire life.
*Please, take into account that my life is not that exciting so opinions may vary when it comes to the dialog's actual extremeness.
My cousin is a very active, clumsy, three-year-old child which automatically translates to spending 70% of his time falling down, bumping into some things, climbing other things, falling down again, and hurting himself. Why would it be any different at the airport?
It wasn't, indeed.
So, excited about his new Mickey trolley, he fervently insists on jumping onto it to be pulled around the airport instead of walking like we, adults, must do. Long story short, he ended up falling causing his forehead to grow the biggest bump ever.
We, then, obviously took him to the medical corner to make sure he was okay. He was but they had to keep him there for a while to really make sure of it, which is totally reasonable and very professional, of course. So where is the problem? You ask.
The problem is, and I can't stress this enough, airlines can't ever be on time. And TAP sticks very firmly to that commitment. What does that mean, exactly?
That means that as a family who lives on the second most important city in the country (Porto), the only available option at the time to get to Morrocco involved a connecting flight. Everything good, all humans enjoy the possibility of stopping defying the natural laws and return to the ground for a bit...
The thing is because our boarding in Porto was already late in the first place - as it should - we arrived in Lisbon with barely 30 minutes to spare, which meant running - and no duty-free shopping, something that, may I had, made me very very not happy - but, most of all, lacking the time to have a member of our crew hurting himself.
The trauma from the entire situation has clouded my memory, unfortunately, but I do remember me and my father going from the medical corner to the boarding gate, to the medical corner again and to the boarding gate again, thinking that maybe the force created within that movement would be enough to get us inside the plane on time.
Sadly, we watched the boarding queue getting smaller and smaller whilst our baby was still imprisoned despite being in perfect health. The time came when we were the only passengers missing, so my father and I returned to the gate once more, prepared to tell the flight attendant that the circumstances would prevent us from boarding. And, suddenly, enlightened, she hits us with these beautiful, extremely mother-wise, words:
"Are you going without him?"
Let me clarify that, first, we are still in Lisbon and not in the hot Morrocco; and, second, the air-conditioning is on, meaning there is no heatwave affecting this woman's common sense. She is a healthy person asking us if we wish to go on vacation and leave the three-year-old child behind.
Well, we said no because we are that kind of family, however, just when we were about to turn our backs to the boarding gate, we bumped into the most beautiful scenario ever: together, all of them, our family was running in our direction, the little boy seated once more on top of his trolley, a bag of ice being held by his mother against his purplish forehead. Both sweat and happiness covering their entire bodies...
Then we got on the plane and it was a pretty nice vacation.
P.S.: If you, reading this, happen to be a flight attendant, I recommend you not to use these words in the event of going through a similar experience. Maybe offer people some pretzels or water, instead. Maybe smile a little. Just not... not this. Please.
© 2020 Patricia Marques