“Hi, Keshet. It’s a bit embarrassing to ask you again for the reservation. But my flight is due in just a few hours and I really need it as soon as possible. Don’t worry. If you are busy, I will find another way to get it. I only thought that since you offered to give me a hand with that, it would have been much easier,” Checo typed on his phone and sent the message. He had pushed himself to write such a message. “Do it! You have to say what you want, and you need the reservation anyway. Just use the words that you have on your mind. And if that person doesn’t send you the reservation even this time, then, that’s it, you won’t even go there, because you won’t be able to trust that person,” he thought to himself while looking out of the window, sitting alone in his coupe on the train to Prague.
Brown, muddy, late-winter fields stretched in all directions and randomly scattered, like scarecrows, single standing, barren trees faded away from his sight as the train dashed forward. He knew the trees were the scary ghosts and witches with broken arms and sharp claws he had just escaped. Thank God they couldn’t catch him anymore. Then he looked farther and saw that behind the fields, at a great distance, grew hills covered with gloomy woods and the hopefully last layer of snow. The last layer because it was late March and until yesterday, the snow, the cold and much more made his life almost unbearable.
“It is still a beautiful country, though,” he felt suddenly when sinking deep into the otherwise murky scene with gray sky. But he didn’t manage to see this beauty all the time. And he couldn’t live in there all the time. He didn’t love the country the way an excited foreigner does when coming to a new place, or like the patriot who does call that place home. This wasn’t Checo’s case. He couldn’t get excited because there was nothing new for him in this country, nor was he a patriot, because he had made sure by now that the country wasn’t his home. It was maybe a little sad, it could be, and given the consequences due to which he was leaving again, it was even sadder. But one thing he knew. He was free. And that made him feel an incredible sense of relief.
“You will have the reservation in an hour. Is that still OK for you?” Keshet texted back.
“Yes, an hour is great,” he answered quickly.
A week ago, Checo wanted to be prepared for everything, so he texted Keshet and inquired about the possible things he might be requested to show at the airport in Cancun. He asked Keshet whether they would question where he was going, whether he would need any hotel reservations or such things. “I can make you a fake reservation,” Keshet replied immediately. And because Checo thought it would make things much easier and because he also thought it would be a little awkward to refuse the help, he accepted it. But Keshet’s offer didn’t make things much easier. Checo had to remind himself of it three times. And all the three times, Keshet forgot.
Still almost a full day before his flight, Checo didn’t really need the reservation in just one hour. But it wasn’t so much and only about the reservation anyway. Checo knew he could obtain it himself. He could, let’s say, book a hostel for a week or even two months, if that was possible, and then cancel it once having the stamp in the passport. What Checo really needed, though, was Keshet’s trust. The paper was only a helpful bonus to pass the immigration. Interestingly, having accepted Keshet’s help, Checo was going to learn how reliable the person was, and strangely, it also made Checo somewhat dependent.
The recent days, weeks and even the months that felt like eternity had been extremely painful for Checo. He had no idea what was going on with his life whatsoever. In fact, he felt he was dying. And then Mexico came. And that was his last chance because there was literally no other option at all. Hence, he held onto it as tight as he could. But even the smallest indication of uncertainty, which could, at that time, easily be caused be someone like Keshet, only weakened Checo’s faith.
Thinking about it, however, Checo wondered whether he himself didn’t attract all the uncertainty first? Was he being doubtful and then Keshet not really helping? Or was it Keshet first being unreliable, and then the nagging thoughts of insecurity came as a reaction to it? This reflection was a part of Checo’s new lessons. “A man’s thought is what his world is,” he realized one day. But Checo hadn’t yet practiced this well enough, and so the old habit was still very difficult to get rid of. It was always very easy to slip back and end up in the familiar circle of useless, worrying questions for which he had no answers. Thus, he wasn’t even aware of how much energy it actually cost him, until recently.
Because Checo’s flight was scheduled for the early morning, he decided to sleep in Prague. Once he checked into his hotel, he hurried out to meet his friend Patrick waiting at the door. Patrick was from Seattle. When the two first met a year and a half ago in one of Prague’s apartment, they had no idea what the world would be like now, and if they had the idea, they would definitely agree that this could not be possible. At that time, they were both on the way to some destination, they had their goals and dreams, but now neither of them dared to think about the future too much. Now, it was more like they acted out from what was necessary for them to do.
They walked in a half deserted city. It had already been dark but not so late, and yet almost everything was closed. It was sad. And it was quite cold. Checo and Patrick hadn’t seen each other for a long time because either they were literally not allowed or they were busy figuring out what were, in fact, the necessary things to do. They talked about the past and how much they took it for granted. Patrick was still with Olivia, but he couldn’t stand the isolation anymore and was ready to move to France. „I love the mountains,“ he said and continued talking about it. Checo talked about Emily. “And only when I lost her, I realized what she really meant to me.”
Now, at 35 000 feet above sea level and the speed of 479 knots, Checo is sitting still by the window inside the airplane. He has been reassured that he is really going to start in Tulum, and he can also trust Keshet. And it’s a little funny that Checo still doesn’t know whether Keshet is a woman or a man. And it looks like he will have to wait and see until the very last moment when he meets with the person face to face. “Such a strange name.” He had never heard it before.
Slowly, it’s getting dark in the sky. It’s going to be a long night. Everything is very peaceful out there. Yet, if anything went only a little wrong… “Hey! Your thoughts!” he reminds himself of the lessons again. “Everything is alright,” he repeats several times.
“Простите”, says a little pale Russian girl sitting on the seat next to Checo. It means “sorry”. The kid is being restless, and again, she has bumped into Checo with her elbow. She is cute. But her mum from the aisle seat reproves her child for almost anything she does. Regardless of that, it still feels like the two are in a good relationship and love each other. Checo understands them and for a while he is thinking whether to start talking in Russian again. But there seems to be nothing that he is particularly interested about, and, actually, he doesn’t really feel like talking right now. Instead, he relaxes, and soon his thoughts are becoming less clear and blurry until they almost disappear in silence and half-sleep.
Gradually, however, Checo finds himself awakening into a conversation. It comes from the row in front of him. The actual voice belongs to a beautiful young Israeli woman sitting in the middle. Checo saw her while they were boarding the plane. Lean like a cheetah, dark hair with eyes like two walnuts, her skin had the shade of cappuccino, and now through the crack between the seats, Checo sees the tip of her nose, her dark crimson lips and her white teeth, all flashing at him from under the dimmed light that illuminates her face like a candle. She is talking to a Mexican girl on the right whom Checo can’t see but wishes he could, just to see who speaks in such a beautiful and warm, soft voice.
An airplane conversation, that kind of conversation when you know that the one sitting next to you will almost certainly be gone forever after the landing. There is nothing to lose. It’s just this single time. The longer is the Israeli girl talking, the more she is opening up. And so, they are talking about love and men. Checo is listening secretly from behind. “Patience is the most important and beautiful thing. You go step by step, little by little, you take your time,” the Israeli girl says.
“True,” Checo agrees with her silently, and already is thinking about all the patience that he would be willing to give her, if only he could, if only she were not gone forever right after the landing, or at least, if only he were the one sitting next to her.
Then, the Israeli girl goes even farther, she is being personal and intimate. The girls start giggling and Checo feels slightly embarrassed. He is wondering whether it is really needed to say so much. Perhaps tomorrow, when 10000 miles will have been flown in about 15 hours, and the world will be so much different, she might feel embarrassed about what she had said. Checo is surprised how it is sometimes possible to say so much in such a short time. But perhaps she won’t even remember because, hey, it was just a single time. And life goes on too fast. Like the miles and smiles of a flight. Perhaps that is how she sees her life, like a flight journey, fast and short. And there is no time for her to keep secrets and be regretful about something, or even silly embarrassed. Yeah.