Interior – Sam and Tana are on the bus going towards the airport. 

The wind didn’t carry much hope. I really needed it, today especially..

Tana held my hand as he slept comfortably in the seat beside me. He grew a little bigger everyday, a genetical attribute given to him by land and ancestry. He held a small grip every time he fell asleep, an emotional attribute given to him by mom – me.

The unpaved roads made the bus trip an unpleasant drive. This was the last time I would be taking it though, so there was no point of complaining. The tires peddled slower as the bus rounded the corner, onwards towards the small airport. The only airport in the country, Fua’amotu International was a convenient place of coming attractions. I remembered the Friday night trips with Ana and Sela to people-watch those who’d tirelessly survived the sixteen hour voyage and the long line for customs and baggage claim. It that wasn’t enough description, imagine then a crowd of eyes glued not on you or how you look – but what you brought with you.

If you were lucky enough to have cousins arriving on a Friday night, they usually brought the Duty Free liquor purchased at a store in New Zealand while waiting out a layover.

Friday night trips to Fua’amotu was the common pregame before hopping bars in downtown Nuku’alofa. After a long week of work and labor, everyone came to place tabs on expensive drinks and lustful women. This was the Kingdom, uncensored.

Friday night trips and bar hopping was the lifestyle I’d come accustomed to. Many of my friendships were made out on the streets. If you were sober enough, you could witness Nuku’alofa shift from its daytime slumber of slow production to the quick and anonymous nightlife that ensued.

The drunks and promiscuous ones did not flatter my friendship; it was the observant ones in their silos that I attempted to befriend. Foreigners from Australia, England, South Africa and American Samoa shared fascinating stories on life abroad which made me pink with envy; that and the free shots of vodka ….

I jolted back into reality. Tana began to cry, suddenly awakened by the bus turbulence and the loudness of the airport rush. I picked up the half-asleep four year old who nestled his face into my neck, trying to find a comfortable position to fall asleep on. I grabbed our bag and exited the bus.

“Tana .. baby, wake up.” I jostled his shoulder to hear whimpering sounds. “I know baby. You can sleep on the plane though okay?” Tana slowly nodded his head as his feet hit the ground. “Mommy needs you to be awake right now”, I desperately said “can you be awake for mommy?” Tana knew when I needed him.

We slipped into line as my phone rang from my pocket. It was a text message from him.

ur making a mistake ..

I pulled up to the empty kiosk to check-in.


“Passports please” the airport attendant said. I handed her the two booklets while I re-read the message again.

ur making a mistake ..

“and where will you be flying to today, ma’am?” she reached for my bag and set it on the weigh station.

“The States” I said, stuffing the phone back into my pocket.

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