A Moment In JFK

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about stories. Specifically, the story behind the first picture of yourself that you can find. Not surprisingly, I had to do some serious digging through my library. There aren’t many photos of me. I always dislike how I turn out; there’s something off with the lighting, my smile seems goofy, and it just doesn’t look good. I’d rather take pictures of something, anything more interesting and beautiful. In the photograph for this entry, it’s the setting that stood out.

I’m standing in front of a large sign that says “Welcome to New York”. I noticed it on my last layover through JFK International Airport in 2011. It’s hanging on the wall just after the security checkpoint. I’m smiling for the camera, but it’s a little strained from having to gather my belongings and put my shoes and belt back on. I regard airport security with ambivalence; I’ve traveled enough times to make it routine, but I get patted down at least once per trip. I guess I look suspicious…It doesn’t help that – at least for this particular trip – I’m decked out with a backpack, three clothing layers, and several pockets. Cargo pants are a staple of all my vacations, by virtue of practicality. However, I’m also draped in my black overcoat. It’s not something I’ll likely need in the coming week, though. I’m heading out to Madrid and then Málaga (along with Seville, Tangier, and Gibraltar eventually) but I don’t know what the weather is going to be like.

There’s a certain sense of urgency in the air. JFK is a bustling, frantically-paced airport. It’s almost suffocating. Even as I stand faking a grin, there’s a whole crowd of people off to my left. Weary travelers dragging their rolling suitcases and checking their phones, refusing to take even a moment to enjoy the setting. It’s fine, I can’t stand there all day. My hair is already untied and matted a little on one side, which means I’ve long stopped caring about feeling fresh and am focused on reaching the next gate in time. I’ll make it with minutes to spare, and I’ll gladly leave JFK in favor of Madrid’s far more relaxing atmosphere.

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