The flight was already an hour late when the queue at the gate finally began to shuffle forward. I eyed the man in the heavy overcoat who, bishop-like, was trying to cut softly in front of me. As I shifted my weight onto my left foot the teenager on my right barged forward, eyes fixed on their phone. It was blatant obstruction, any referee would have called a foul. I stood up straighter and used my additional weight to block them. There. I inched forward, not lifting my feet from the floor. At the gate I had my passport and my boarding card ready and beamed triumphantly.
‘Your carry-on, sir? Where is your carry-on?’
A chill ran through me and I turned round in the crowd. The dog was sitting , eyes fixed on the suitcase. The man in the stab vest was looking our way.
‘I don’t have any’, I said. ‘I don’t have any.’