“Next please,” the attendant calls, sounding slightly bored.
As the line shuffles forward, you move along with mounting excitement. You have never done this before and eagerly await your turn. The long line before you doesn’t deter you. You undo your ponytail and shake out your reddish-brown hair before redoing your hairstyle. Technically, you didn’t have to wear your hair up since you’re in an air-conditioned building, but you have to wear your favorite hairstyle for this momentous occasion. You glance around the room. The only thing you would change about the situation is to have the people more spaced out so they could admire your outfit: your favorite peach colored t-shirt paired with jean shorts and recently purchased Converse sneakers. The light green scrunchie in your hair complements the shirt, reminding you of your favorite fruit: peach. Yum. Delicious sweetness wrapped in skin that oozes with juice when you bite it. You wish you had a peach right now. Hold on Claire, back to reality. These people probably wouldn’t appreciate your clothes or love of peaches anyway. Aw, well.
Speaking of people, you turn to look at the people around you. People watching. One of your favorite hobbies. Your family has mixed emotions about this. Mom always said you would creep people out by staring at them, but Dad encouraged you to keep it up and who knows? You may be a secret agent someday. That makes you smile. Since, as you have already noticed, it’s a long line, there are many subjects for observation. Might as well constructively pass the time while waiting.
The person directly in front of you is a rather skinny, middle-aged man with graying hair partially hid beneath a hat. He’s wearing a gray office suit, brown dress shoes, and carries a briefcase. The only odd part of his outfit is the hat. Why a baseball cap? Hmm…maybe he’s a terrorist and is hiding a bomb in the cap! No, wait. He’ll think that people will suspect the unusual cap, so he’ll put the bomb in his briefcase instead. But aren’t men carrying briefcases suspicious anyway? So maybe he’ll anticipate that and hide the bomb in his shoes. Are they real leather? Hold on Claire, back to the bomb. Of course he won’t put the bomb in his shoes, literally everybody knows you don’t do that. Why else would airport security make you take your shoes off? Let’s see, the only other feasible option would be…his jacket pocket! Yes! No one would think he would hold a bomb in his pocket. Too obvious. Now, all you have to do is take his suit jacket away, call the police, and cancel the bomb. Whoa Claire! Don’t let your imagination make you do something you’ll regret later. Yikes, your imagination almost took over there. You have too many embarrassing memories to let that happen again.
You turn to look at the people behind you. A stocky elderly man, dressed in an orange collared shirt, gray slacks, and white sneakers stands next in line. The expression beneath his (mostly gone) white hair reminds you of the people at the grocery store waiting behind you when you have an overflowing cart. Some people just don’t realize how much food an eighteen-year old girl needs to survive. With occasional indulgences. This man is probably annoyed at the long line. Maybe he’s tired, and just wants to get home to his sweet wife and home-cooked dinner. He’ll tell her about what he did today, and ask her if she made his favorite dessert: peach cobbler. Well, that’s really your favorite, but maybe it’s his too. Then, they’ll watch the sunset together and…yikes, he noticed you watching him. Time to turn around casually. Well, that’s what you get for people watching, Claire.
Facing the front again makes you realize that the line is already half in size. The anticipated moment is fast approaching! You wish you had a time warp and could fast forward time. Dad would probably say, why not? My Claire can do anything. Mom would be more practical, but still encouraging. Thinking about your mom makes you notice a lady a few people in front of you. She is wearing a red shirt, jeans, and sneakers and carries a purse on one side and a chubby toddler on her other side. An older child stands beside her, licking a lollipop. The toddler is amusing himself by playing with his mom’s long blond hair. She doesn’t seem to mind, and that makes you wonder if she has any other kids. She seems to handle these two really well. You wonder what adventures she’s had with her kids, going to parks, swimming, running, playing, eating ice cream. Peach ice cream. Maybe she takes them to the library on a rainy day, or drops them off at Grandma and Grandpa’s house when she needs a break. Wow. It must be great to be a mom. You’d like to be one someday. But right now, you are focused on what awaits you at the end of this line. It’s shorter now, only a few people are in front of you.
Yikes! You spot a young man second in line. How did you not notice him before? He is, quite frankly, handsome. Better look somewhere else Claire, before you turn red. Right. You have an interesting history of blushing around handsome guys. Isn’t it normal? Your Mom would say yes and your Dad would joke that any guy you didn’t blush around should feel disappointed. Thinking about your parents makes you realize, once again, that what you are about to do will greatly impact your relationship with them. You are taking on your own responsibility now. Come on Claire, you knew you would need to grow up someday. Yes, you know that. But that’s starting today.
You are literally trembling with excitement as it’s almost your turn. The mom has already left, probably to some adventure with her kids. The handsome guy is leaving. The person in front of you is going. It’s Mr. aka Terrorist. Once you’re done, the elderly man behind can get that yummy dinner. Claire. Oops. That imagination again.
“Next please,” the attendant calls, sounding slightly bored. Oh my goodness, this is it! You walk up and stand in front of the blueish-gray backdrop. You adjust your peach shirt and smooth your hair. Then you look at the camera and smile. The moment has arrived. Claire, you are getting your passport photo taken.
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This is a very reflective story. I like feeling emotionally connected to a story, and this one did just that. The thing about watching people and letting our imagination loose... me! Thanks for this story.
Thanks so much for your comment! I really appreciate it. Yes, sometimes our imaginations run wild...it was definitely a fun story to write.