Terminal #2

In this place of transition, a place that proceeds the going and coming of people to one place to another via water, air, or land, the air is thick with impatience.

The Terminal here is a water crossing, with a hydraulic passenger bridge that leads to the upper deck of the ferry. You must have a ticket to ride. You scan your ticket to open a little gate, then there is a door and then the bridge and then you are on the ferry.

A gaggle of 7th graders from the middle school up the hill are on a fieldtrip and enter the Terminal. They can’t be quiet and their voices echo off the floor and walls and high ceiling. They WoW and OoOo and laugh and can’t keep their hands to themselves.

Keep your mask on, their teacher keeps saying, then goes and speaks with the ferry worker who lets them through a locked door rather than through the little automated gates.

Before there was automated gates there was a person who was paid to take tickets from people. That job no longer exists. The person who had that job now works at the coffee kiosk down the block and makes a third of the salary they once had. It’s the little things you don’t notice.

To get the 7th graders out of the Terminal proper, the ferry worker lets them stand on the fore bridge that leads to the hydraulic one. The ferry has not arrived quite yet. It is in the middle of the crossing. Most of the students watch it slowly slide across the water. The water is calm and light shines off it in diamonds. One of the students wanders over to look at the bridge where the cars transfer from the land to the boat. It looks like any other road or bridge. There is a honking in the car lot loading area. It could be an alarm, but it is also too sporadic to be an alarm.

Get away from the rail, says the teacher to his students.

There is a roaring and the children have wide eyes and are looking around. Their heads spiraling.

The car is honking over and over as it rounds the corner and heads onto the ramp. The girl that was looking down sees the flash of the car, bright red, a haze exiting the tailpipe, burning oil. There is no ferry docked. Tires screech and then the car is in the air, flying outward. Flying downward.

The girl watches it. Her classmates are screaming. The teacher is shouting. She is still. The car is still. hanging in midair, it’s tires still spinning. Then the nose angles down, it’s tail up. It begins to fall. And once it begins everything speeds back up again.

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