The olive green suitcase sits alone amongst the noise and activity of the airport. Light spills
through the large viewing window, making shadows in the wrinkles marking the old, battered case, and
children run screaming, but stop, respectfully, careful not to touch it. One child ignores the silent
rule and kicks it, hard, causing it to topple to the side,pathetically, like a rotted tree. Embaressed,
the young mother leads the rowdy child away amongst dead silence, which soon explodes once again
into the anxiety and excitement of pre-flight stress.
Flights come and go, new people enter the waiting area, but still, the suitcase sits. The sunlight
fades away into mid afternoon light, softer through the window, casting shadows on the floor.
In a deserted airport bathroom an old woman pats powder onto her tired, wrinkled face. Her hands
are stiff and sore, yet careful and determined. Tucking the compact into her large bag, the stooped
figure, once rigid and curvy, moves slowly towards the door. One hand, brown and papery like a
well-read book shakes slightly as she raises it to the handle. It swings open unexpectedly, and two
giggling young girls spill in, excited. The old woman is knocked to the side, briefly, before
regaining her balance with her , as young children do, they let the door go
once again, and she totters, slowly, as she attempts to keep open the door. Once free, she pats her
snowy, curled hair and makes her way towards the waiting aread where she has left her suitcase.
Avoiding the humming moving walkway, she places one foot slowly, carefully, in front of another,
much like a dog with a wounded leg. The cane comes down, she regains her balance, then steps
again. It's a long, gruelling trip, and she occasionally raises her head, enviously, gazing at
young couples striding hand in hand, children skipping, both with the ease and grace she once lost.
She reaches the waiting area and warily gazes around the room. Mid-afternoon light is shifting
into the "between-time" of twilight. Suitcases surround families, business men cary stylish lap-tops
and woman clutch designer bags. The old olive suitcase, once alone and forlorn, is not there. Confused
and still more weary, the old woman turns in resignation and heads towards the exit. Moving even slower
than before, head drooped, she looks as weary and forlorn as the olive green case. Reaching the door,
she halts, suspiciously, and the automated glass slides apart. Raising her free hand in the air,
she signals to the taxi driver perched against his cab, and he springs forward, light footed to help
her into the seat.
Inside the airport, an unanswered call goes out.
"Mrs Ethel Cainbridge? We have your olive suitcase at the terminal. Mrs Ethel Cainbridge?"
The cab drives away, the old woman gazing, unblinking, out the window.