she wanted to keep on wandering the halls, with people from all sorts of places and culture passing her hurriedly to their gates, observing the pacing that differs from each. but she can feel that her legs and feet are beginning to ache, what with more than 2 hours of already walking around the terminal and almost memorizing the shops and promos. she’s been to the other terminal, and it gave her a chance to observe people more. she has studied them from the clothes they wear, the brand of luggage they carry around, the conversations she catches in snippets (the Chinese are noisiest, for some reason they only talk in very high decibels, like they are always in a fight with each other). there are those who prefer to stay in the coffee shop, chatting on their tablets or smartphones or lappys; others in engaging conversations that seem to never end. while others like her, preferring to sit alone and just watch everyone else.

there are window shoppers, and souvenir or chocolate hoarders. there are those who are pretty much well-off, she can tell, going into the designer and branded shops and not hesitating to buy an item or two. there are the tech geeks who hover around the electronics store, engaging the store clerks on know-how about the latest gadgets, but never actually buying anything.

she checks the time. another hour to go. she sighs and looks around for a place to sit. she doesn’t want to turn on her phone or laptop anymore. if she gets engrossed on surfing she might forget her boarding time again. it’s happened to her once, with the paging system already announcing her name as the last remaining passenger. she almost didn’t make it, running from the other side of the terminal where she was able to find a better wifi signal. she was met with annoyed looks from the other passengers when she boarded the plane, realizing she was the cause of their flight delay. the doors immediately closed soon as she stepped foot inside the plane.

never again. she already settled near the boarding gates, just in case she might forget again.

she flips through the magazine that she bought earlier. fashion trends, latest gadgets, best buys under $50, make-up tips, travel goals. somehow, everything reads the same to her now. she looks around once again. everyone seems to look the same also. she realizes that there’s too much conformity, too much predictability around her. everyone fitting to a certain description, a certain demographic.

and she suddenly shuddered. what is happening here? where’s the originality? where’s the authenticity? has commercial consumption really molded everyone to look and sound the same?

she shook her head and slapped her face to make sense into these thoughts running through her. she looks around, and she sees people already lining up to enter the gates. she begrudgingly makes it to the end of the line, sighing heavily while carrying her backpack. she wants to turn back and go to the other end of the terminal again and wait for the airline to call her name on the speaker. she wanted to deviate.

she turns her head to scan the airport once more, trying to find any sort of anchor for her to believe that she isn’t like any of those ahead of her. she bites her lip, fighting back tears as she hands the ground crew her passport and boarding pass.

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