Photo by Tang Yan Song / Shutterstock.com
I imagine you back at home, keeping
the iPad tucked by your side, waiting
for the flip to green to show
that I’m online. Even though
I should be sleeping and I know
you’ve done the time change calculation
and imagined a clock where I am
14 hours in the future and it is late in the night.
I message you that I’m up, anxious
for the flight the next day.
I don’t tell you that I’ve left the hotel
and am sleeping in the airport
because you would worry. Instead,
I tell you a different truth.
I tell you I love you.
I want to tell you about the sleeping fountains. How I found them in a little oasis too small to be noted on a terminal map. I want to tell you about their pinched faces gazing up at the stars in the ceiling glass, fixed in their silent sea, parched, dry little mouths.
We say good night. The tv on the wall flickers and blinks. I am nowhere near the fountains now. Travelers are not allowed to sleep there. Instead, I am in a windowless bay painted a shade of showhome beige, on a recliner that fits my body like a dentist’s chair, the leather still warm from the last woman who ran to catch her red eye flight. I strap my daypack to my body, feel the weight of my suitcase hovering like a black boxed moon against my feet. A baby cries. A floor polisher soaps back and forth. Classical music crescendos then crashes. These things that drown out any hope of rest.
Instead, I imagine a clock
ticking through the early hours
has scanned my bones
and I am encased in metal and launched
into the sky. A hand turns
a dial, presses a button.
The fountains awaken and spill
all that has welled in their throats overnight.
Jenny Wong is a writer, traveler, and occasional business analyst. Her favorite places to wander are Tokyo alleys, Singapore hawker centers, and Parisian cemeteries. Recent publications include Acropolis Journal, Five Minutes, and Tiny Molecules. She resides in Canada near the Rocky Mountains and tweets @jenwithwords.