Gate A-4

Live & Learn


Gate A-4 By Naomi Shihab Nye:

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well— one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her . What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, shu-bid-uck, habibti? Stani schway, min fadlick, shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be…

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8 thoughts on “Gate A-4

  1. What a wonderful story. I’ve been thinking of late that creating an alternate universe might not be so bad, and reading this piece was an encouraging nudge. I’m tired of nastiness and people beating one another over the head: metaphorically or otherwise.

    I’ve browsed your website, too, and am looking forward to reading “Stein House” — but only after I finish my current pieces on Indianola. I can hear my 8th grade teacher (ironically, Mrs. Deutsche) saying: “Do your own research, students!”


    • I am eager to hear your reaction to STEIN HOUSE. I hope Brownson Marsh’s INDIANOLA; The Mother of Western Texas is among your research. It is a terrific book and served as my time-line guide for STEIN HOUSE.


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