Mom was waiting. Patiently for me.
Sitting on a seat with her luggage in arrivals at Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA). Her plane arrived before mine. She had been there for hours. An earlier flight was more economical. And so there she would be hanging out at an airport in Jordan, waiting in faith for her daughter’s safe and timely arrival.
By the time my plane landed, it was already an hour delayed. When I boarded, I prayed and hoped we would take off on time. Or even earlier if that even happens these days. For each minute we sat on the airport tarmac in TO, my heart beat went a nanosecond faster. Before I knew it, an hour had passed, and I could hardly breathe. Then the plane surged forward and we took-off higher and higher into the sky. I breathed a sigh of relief as we entered into the realm of clouds, and fell asleep.
Mom was seventy-five years old, travelling alone. Or so I thought she was alone.
She's a world traveller and quite capable of traversing the globe on her own. But a bit of company, or someone with a functioning mobile phone always helps.
Going through customs at Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA)took some time. The customs officer took his sweet old time with each person, checking documents and visas. Fortunately I could apply for my visa in real-time at the airport. But it still didn't make the customs line-up move any faster.
I ran down the escalators or moving stairs, balancing my carry-on bag, and purse with some difficulty. But I was relieved by the time I saw her outline, and could make out her smiling face. She was not alone, but surrounded by two friends. Who I learned later were also on her flight. She was not alone afterall.
Why didn't I know she wasn't alone? I thought I had asked. It would have alleviated some worry on my part with a delayed flight. But sometimes in life serendipity takes place, and we are given the support we need. And that was the case for mom. The three women offered me a drink of water from their water bottles, and a piece of bread. Too kind for words, and lacking time as we still had a long journey ahead of us.
The four of us, mom, Judy, Deb and myself found a chauffeured taxi to take us through Amman, a fifty-kilometre journey. However, we first need to make a rest stop before making our way to the deserts of Wadi Rum.
Considering my delayed flight, our time was tight as we entered a tea slash cloth emporium. The moment we stepped into the large room, hunting around for a bathroom, the shop owner veered us towards fabrics, Dead Sea salt scrubs, and Bedouin dresses. There was also the waft of food frying. One by one we found the bathroom, then dashed away with the promise to return on our way back from the desert.
The sun was beginning to set as our chauffeured driven jeep rolled up and down the hills until all we saw were surrounded by mounds of sand. The buildings and paved roads were behind us.
"We are reaching near to your destination," our driver announced. He stopped the car, opened our doors, and took out our luggage to the end of the dusty road.
Deb and Judy were silent. Mom was smiling. It was a pin drop silence. Except for the sound of the desert and the whooshing of a quiet wind.
Engulfed in the desert's parched silence, I was nothing but another grain of sand in the wind.