In the morning, I received a phone call and was told to board a flight. The arrangements had been made on my behalf. I packed no clothes because my clothes had been packed for me. A car arrived to pick me up. The radio announced traffic due to an accident involving a taxicab driver, a police officer, and a woman whose occupation the dispatcher did not care to identify. But there was no traffic. My ticket was in the breast pocket of my jacket, which was handed to me as I exited the passenger door. Waiting in line, I felt I had no body, but by the time I reached security I was hungry. Inside my carry-on I found two apples and a croissant, which tasted like nothing. The security agent asked me for my name. I gave him my driver’s license, walked through the metal detector, and then my body went away.
Before takeoff, a flight attendant announced our destination. Everyone cheered. The passenger to my right asked if I was happy to be going home. He didn’t speak our destination’s national language, which had become the language of the plane. I told him I was neither happy nor unhappy. He said he understood where I was coming from, because his work had introduced him to people like me. He said that people like me had changed him. It was true that they needed money, but the fact that he gave it to them had nothing to do with who they were to each other.
His real life, outside of our destination, was complicated by ambivalence. Since childhood, his basic needs had been met as if by an invisible force. At first, he believed his mother and father were providing for him, but when they died, he was surprised to feel that he had suffered no loss. He envied the fact that people like me didn’t have desires, as we were still struggling to fulfill our basic needs. His own desires felt paralyzing, because none of them were motivated by need. Everything was available to be possessed, which made it impossible to quantify any particular object’s allure. He wished he felt more lust for his mistress. I tried to relate to him and understand his concerns.