Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Back Story 1: Left behind

“Iniwan ka na ng eroplano.”

Rico Blanco’s voice and the play on strings reverberated in my mind early Saturday morning as I was told by Cebu Pacific’s ground crew that the plane had departed – without me and my four kids.

Still not okay here. Still looking dazed. 

Our flight to Cebu was at 540 am and we were at Terminal 3 at 345 am. Lacking in sleep but still perky, the kids and I had breakfast at Yellow Cab and anticipated all the good things that would happen during my birthday weekend. It was also the kids’ first time to take a plane.

The pizza place was at Level 2 of the terminal. I figured we would have plenty of time to find our assigned gate as soon as the boarding call came through the PA system.

No such call came and at 530, anxious, we finally decided to look for the gate even without hearing the boarding call. The gate turned out to be far from where we were, and when I asked the ground crew if the doors were still open, they told me that our names had been called repeatedly and that the plane had left.

I had to buy new tickets. I thought I was dreaming. I tried pinching myself but I was still there.

The trip was a birthday gift. A family friend was kind enough to book us for the weekend at the posh Shangri-la Mactan – at greatly discounted rates after the Bohol-Cebu earthquake last year.  We were looking forward to bonding with the two daughters, with whom I shared an affinity. Long story.

Purchased the original tickets at a good deal, too. Everything had been planned and I even had a bit of travel allowance for nice meals -- it was my birthday after all -- and some pasalubong for our friends back home.

Next flight was at 7am and our hosts were already texting, waiting for us. My bank would not dispense that kind of money from the machine and after that I would have nothing, absolutely nothing, to tide us through for the next few days until my 2/28 paychecks come.  

The next next flight was at 1020, at a price one third lower than the 7am. Cancelling the trip altogether was out of the equation although the thought crossed my mind. There was our room waiting for us for two nights, our hosts, the memories we would create.  I decided to take it. I would still have barely enough money to last us until the end of the month. Barely, but I figured it could work.  

Josh came with me while I went through the maze that was the terminal. We left the three others at the gate where we should have been a full hour earlier.

I needed my son to be around me. I had never been so greatly unsettled in my life. My arms and legs felt like jelly. My head was light – I wanted to lift it away from my spine and put in on top of a table to rest. My perspiration was cold and I felt like throwing up.  I would lose my balance if I did not have a table to stand against.I was erratic and dazed. I was constantly looking for my phone and my wallet. 

Josh had the foresight to request for a wheelchair. He took charge. He patted my head. He held my cell phone, he held the cash and handed it to the counter, and put all the papers in my transparent plastic envelope.

As I was wheeled around the terminal I kept my head down. I was not used to this so I was greatly embarrassed at being helpless, not being in charge. I was ashamed -- an editor, an Ateneo scholar with an MA, getting lost in the airport! I was still feeling like I was floating. Josh went to the original gate to fetch his siblings so we could go to the new gate together.

And there we waited for three hours.

Between that time and when the boarding call finally came – of course we could hear it because we were beside the person who was making it – I resolved, and told the kids, to:

  • Recognize it was my fault and expect no one to bail me out because it would be wrong.
  • Tell the story only to very close friends because it was not something to be proud of.
  • If I must tell, like in this blog, make sure I focused on the lesson and the literary value.
  • Not make a big deal out of the incident when we get to Cebu as a matter of saving face.
  • Count this as one of the many firsts we would encounter together in our lives.
  • Live frugally from the time we get back to Manila to payday on Friday.
  • Have a hell of a great time anyway. 

We also took a lot of pictures.

Sleeping in airports


Josh tried to bring some trigonometry but...

Finally, we were boarding!

Boys' turn


Girls' turn


-         And so we did have a good time, and we were able to fly back without any bumps whatsoever. 

Everybody requested a window seat going back. They loved the view!


 I’d like to think that since we shared all these mishaps and laughs and many other things in between, the bonding was even better.
The Fab Five: On to the next great adventure. 

Indeed, 

“Sasalubungin natin ang kinabukasan

Nang walang takot at walang pangamba.”

(Roughly - we will greet the future without fear)

All together now.


2 comments:

pinoytransplant said...

From the photos, it seems you and your family had a good time anyway, despite of what happened. Years from now, you will look back at this as one of the most memorable events that will make you smile.

Adelle said...

Thank you, Amer. Kailangan mag-good time nang makabawi-bawi sa stress. :)But yes this will be an epic story someday.