Everything was ready. All that’s left for me to do was to get on that plane. But the airport was the farthest I could go. Even if the live that I was supposed to attend was finished already, it still hasn’t sunk in. I wasn’t seeing D’espairsRay live after all.
I arrived early at the airport. My flight was at 5AM but I was already on the way an hour past midnight. Yes, I was that excited. As I reached the check-in counter, my head was already in Tokyo. My daydreaming was interrupted by the staffer’s unexpected question, “Ma’am, what happened to your passport?” I was using the same passport since 2010 and this was the first time I was asked this question. Confused, I ask what she meant. The staffer explained that my passport looked detached and then “glued together”. She again asked “Did you do anything to your passport?” I told her “No! Of course not.” She consulted with her supervisor. She went back and said “I’m sorry Ma’am, we cannot check you in. Your passport is tampered.” My knees felt instantly weak but calmly I told her, “Miss, there must be a mistake. I just used that same passport upon my arrival yesterday from Singapore. I even have here my ticket from that flight.” She then asked me again “Did you really not do anything to your passport?” Again, I told her that no, I did not do anything with my passport. And so she want back to consult with her peers. When she faced me again she said with a tone of finality “Sorry Ma’am. There’s really something wrong with your passport. If we let you through, we will be given a memo. We cannot check you in on this flight.” I left the counter in a daze.
To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing wrong with my passport. This year alone, I’ve used the very same passport to get in and out of 5 countries, including Japan just this March. Prior to my supposed MNL – NRT flight, the same passport got me through CGK – SNG last July 23 and then through SNG – CLK last July 26. How could it be that suddenly my passport is invalid?
I sought out airport security. They told me only immigration can deny me passage but they, the security personnel, cannot interfere. I went back to the airline staff and asked if there’s anyone I can speak with. Two staffers approached, one of which was a supervisor it seemed. Again I was questioned if I did something with my passport. I vehemently told them that I didn’t mess with my own passport and that I have no reason to do so. So they asked me if there ever was a time wherein my passport was not with me. I told them I can only think of two recent instances: when I submitted my passport at Indonesian immigration for my re-entry permit last April and when I left it at the Japanese Embassy in Jakarta for the processing of my Japan visa only a week ago. The supervisor then said it could be that somehow, someone managed to detached my passport pages from the cover and then tried to cover up the damage by just glueing them back together.
I examined my passport and it did seem that something was amiss. But by this time, I don’t know what to think anymore. I haven’t slept yet since the day before and my stress level was quadrupling every minute. The supervisor further explained that they don’t want to let me through because if Japan immigration sensed also that there’s something wrong with my passport, I would be deported. DEPORTED. Hearing that word literally brought me chills. I told the supervisor that if only for my peace of mind could we compare my passport with another person’s. She complied. Faced with two passports with my own looking very different, I knew then that there’s nothing else I could do.
I wanted to cry so badly but wouldn’t. There’s no reason for me to look and feel more pathetic that I really was already. After all that questioning, I just wanted to hear a comforting voice. I tried calling my family then the friend I was supposed to meet in Japan. I called them numerous times. No answer. It’s 4AM. Everyone else had the right to blissfully sleep. I called a friend based in Canada. Static. All I had was my inner voice telling me to keep it together.
It was a long journey back home from the airport. Four hours after my ordeal, I was finally able to cry.
I felt sick but I had a lot to do. I needed to cancel and rebook what I can. Most importantly, I need to apply for a new passport so I can get back to my job in Jakarta.
By nightfall, I developed a fever.
I was supposed to welcome back D’espairsRay but instead I was stuck on my sick bed nursing a fever, a head-splitting ache and a hollowness inside.
It was tough balancing between wanting to hear updates about what’s going on and shunning everything about the live once and for all.
I was also still confused regarding what happened to my passport. Numerous questions kept running through my head. Who would do such a thing? Was there malice involved? Like seriously, WHAT THE FUCK? Will I able to secure a passport in time for my return to Jakarta?
My only comfort was that I was with my whole family. They’ve been very supportive. But then again, they don’t get the whole picture. Still, because of them I can smile.
Within me, inner voice kept chanting to keep it together.
I find joy in the knowledge that the live went well. Hizumi is still not on top form but from what I heard, he was able to perform competently.
There was no announcement of another live but still I was so, so happy that D’espairsRay was able to stage a comeback even if only for just one night and via a 4-song set.
But at the same time, each mention of the live brings a sharper pang through my heart. It is torture and it probably would be for quite a while.
Listening to D’espairsRay had and will always be an emotional experience for me. After their so-called disbandment, there was the tinge of longing and regret – regret that I didn’t take the chance to see them live before. Then there was also the hope that they’ll get back together eventually and I will be there to witness it.
Now, I have more emotions to wrestle with: bitterness, sadness and shit tons more of what-ifs and could-have-beens. But just as D’espairsRay has taught me that it’s never in vain to keep on hoping, I look forward to learning more about believing in second chances.
This first attempt at reaching out to them didn’t turn out the way I pictured it to be. But maybe, just maybe…next time I’ll get my turn to cheer for them in person.
…though I go on I won’t forget; the miracle of a reunion with you.
reflecting my unravelling thoughts, the sky cried…
I wanted to be together with you forever…
– SQUALL (lyrics: Hizumi; music: Karyu / English translation: iro)