As a 28-year-old male, the cheesy rom-com playing on the TV should have probably been concerning, but I wasn’t ashamed to admit I loved that movie.
I was waiting for my fiance, Naila, to come back home after a month. She was on a flight back from Africa, after having worked with a bunch of organisations in the healthcare sector,
The landing time was within the next half an hour, and I tried distracting myself by tracking her flight and haphazardly watching the film playing in the background.
5 minutes later, the app wouldn’t open. It kept crashing. I didn’t think much of it and continued watching. It was then I received a call from my friend, sounding panicked and anxious.
“Hey Aakash, what’s up?” I tried calming him down.
“What’s up? What’s up?! Are you crazy man?” He screamed at me.
“Tune into the news channel NOW!” He said.
I switched channels and regretted it immediately.
There was a plane crash. A deadly one and the footage was not something that the weak-hearted could bear to see.
I was speechless, clinging to the phone and scratching my ear to get rid of the feeling of numbness that was tingling there.
“Okay, listen, I’m coming to pick you up and then we’re going straight to the airport”, he said. I didn’t respond.
“Okay man? I said, I’m coming! Don’t go anywhere!” He repeated.
He got there in 3 and a half minutes. It’s usually a 10 minute drive, so I don’t know how many traffic rules he must have broken to make it.
I hadn’t moved from where I was standing in front of the TV, and didn’t budge till Aakash literally dragged me away.
On the way to the airport, in the car, he turned on the radio for updates, but I turned it off immediately. No survivors identified.
I didn’t want to hear it. I wasn’t ready.
With my head down, I sat still for the next hour. I didn’t realise when the tears started streaming down my face, but I didn’t try to stop them either.
It was only when we got to the airport that reality sank in.
Now I was aggressive and restless, making my way through a crowd that had gathered there and begging someone, anyone for updates.
All the calls to her were unreachable, I must have tried at least a thousand times.
I kept calling and calling, hoping to get through. But there was no point.
Some of the airport security had to calm me down and they even threatened to take me away. But that didn’t scare me anymore.
Dejected, I sat down on the ground. Aakash stood next to me, still trying to make sense of the situation, get some more information, but I found it vain.
The phone buzzed in my hand, but I didn’t feel it. It kept buzzing, getting more aggressive by the second till I finally snapped out of it and saw the caller ID.
First, I didn’t find it out of the ordinary.
Then, it hit me. It was Niala.
I stood up in a haste and almost dropped the phone, but caught it just in time. I’m pretty sure everyone around was staring at me.
I answered it quickly and screamed, “Niala! Niala, is that you?!”
“Hey, are you okay?” she asked so calmly. Why was she asking me that? I should be the one asking her!
“What do you mean? What about your flight… you? Wait, what?”
“Umm, I kind of missed my flight, I’m so sorry! I know you think I’m irresponsible, but I fell asleep and my phone died, and I never left the hotel room!”
I was at a loss for words. What had just happened?
“Yeah? Again, I’m so sorry!”
“Yeah?” She asked quietly.
“You haven’t seen the news yet, have you?”
She didn’t respond, but I could almost feel her shake her head and head for the TV remote.
I knew she was doing it. Just like I should have known she would manage to miss her flight.
Someone should probably tell Aakash, right?
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