- August 4, 2020
Borders have been opened and international flights have resumed. My Flight to Malaysia was scheduled for 1 pm. As usual, I arrived at JKIA an hour earlier to avoid missing my flight. I was nervous and excited at the same time. At last, I was going to rejoin my wife and daughter who I had been separated from for close to 6 months. I had travelled back to Kenya earlier this year in February to visit my parents before this Corona thing ambushed and locked me down. I couldn’t wait to see the cute smile from my daughter’s face and enjoy the moments of laughter with my wife again.
The time to board my plane came, and as I was climbing up the boarding stairs, I noticed there was a beautiful air hostess helping a 9-year-old boy. The boy’s mother was frantically waving goodbye from the airport’s front porch. She looked sad. A common phenomenon at the airport when seeing off a loved one to a faraway country. Especially a young child flying alone.
The plane tore into the skies and in minutes, we were 34,000 feet above the land. The young boy had secured the seat next to mine. He seemed tired, drenched in unhappiness. I decided to strike a conversation. He said his name was Tony. Barely two minutes into our small talk, he was unable to control his tears.
His parents had an ugly divorce two years ago. His mum was flying him back to his dad because she was unable to feed him and pay his school fees. She could not also afford a round trip that would allow her to fly with him safely to his dad. Tony was chocking with raw emotions and sadness as he narrated his story to me.
I fought back tears as he told me that he would never see his mother again. Ever.
This is because she was poor and his dad would not allow him around her. She was also in stage 4 of blood Cancer.
The young emotional boy fell on my laps amid tears. I felt for him. This was too heavy and deep, especially for a young boy like him. I broke down with pain. I hugged him as tears uncontrollably streamed down my cheeks.
The centre could no longer hold and things had already fallen apart. I wished there was something good I could do. Throughout the journey, I sunk and drowned into the deep lake of thoughts and reflection.
This incident reminded me of my young daughter. I realised how privileged and lucky I was to have a loving and caring family. Kids being raised by both parents is something that most people often take for granted. I learnt to appreciate every little moment we spend as a family bonding and living joyfully. It was indeed a gift that I needed to take care of.
I also learnt that, as couples, we ought to settle our issues and differences as early as possible for the sake of our children. Our children shouldn’t have to pay the price for our individual differences. They need love and affection from both parents- even if they are not together. Children are innocent and should never undergo the emotional pain and suffering like that of 9-year-old Tony.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s your captain “Mike”. It’s now 10 pm and I welcome you all to Malaysia, we will be landing in the next 12 seconds”. The Pilot’s metallic voice woke me up from my temporary reverie. I looked at the young Tony straight in the eyes and I could see the raw emotional pain this young boy had been forced to bear.
We alighted from the plane and as we walked towards the arrivals gate, I handed him over to his father – a huge and light-skinned Malaysian dude. As they left towards their car, Tony looked back and our eyes met. He seemed totally unhappy. I closed my eyes and whispered an intervention prayer to the Big Guy Upstairs. Only that I just can’t remember what I told God.