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It was a long night.

She was driving on the wrong side of the road in the parking lot which pissed off a lot of people. I suggested she move over, and we eventually found a place to park.  Why is it when I fly, or even dream of flying, it’s always “time time time?” Yes, I already know why. We were barely going to make our flight from Paris to Nigeria (which tells you right there this was a dream), and most of it was spent hustling.  We got inside, backpacks bouncing, passports tucked in jeans, now to find the line and get to the gate.  But the airport looked nothing like the kind you’ve ever seen.  It was like an underground parking lot, poorly lit. No signs anywhere.  Haphazard lines.  We dumped our packs on the shaky table, gave the uniformed people our papers which turned into, “I don’t speak English. Wait here. You’re in the wrong place, go there.” At which point she gave me someone else’s little backpack, leaving me to wonder how did mine get disappeared before my eyes?  I turned to find Ange, but she was gone.

The bulk of the dream was me running through this cavernous place looking for my gate, knowing I’d catch up with her.  The deeper I went in, the more dangerous the place became: large holes in the concrete that exposed the concrete floor below. I thought if I fell into that and broke my back I could sue, but in this country they would laugh and say, “It was your fault for not paying attention, why did you run into a hole?”  Crumbling concrete, metal conduit hanging down, giant wheeled machines rumbling back and forth heedless of scrambling passengers all looking for their gates.  There were doors down here, some like enormous industrial garage doors, but most, and there were so many, were closed metal doors, maroon and full of dents. The gate numbers were spray painted on, some had mailbox sticker numbers on them, crooked.  Some doors were atop a flight of stairs, some around corners. No matter how far in I went, how many flights up, corners I turned, no matter how many times I checked and re-checked my gate number, the door was not to be found.  I’m not sure if I should say, “happily” but I was not the only passenger in this situation, there were scant groups of people looking for their doors.  I finally found a uniformed person and before I could ask he said my name, and that my friend is on the plane waiting for me, the gate is just over there.  He pointed. I ran in the direction of his finger, relieved that she was on the plane and I hadn’t missed the flight.  And the numbers ran out again. I started opening every door and looking outside. No planes. Just a large, slanted lot filled with shipping containers, thick cables and cars going by in the distance.  Up every stair, opening every door, nothing nothing nothing.

Is she still down there? Is she still running up stairs, opening doors, not giving up knowing that it’s got to be here somewhere while I wash dishes and make lists?