“What is your final destination?” The Customs Officer at the Moscow airport is staring at me intently. I know he wants, and deserves, an answer. And in moments like this I know it’s supposed to be an honest answer. But, at the moment, all I hear is a voice that is saying, “I’m tired, I have 9 more countries and 11 more cities to get to. Right now all I want to do is sleep. And you want to know my final destination?” I take his picture. Maybe that’s not a good idea.
Cities rumble and bang in my head, cats in a cage scrambling over each other to get out. All I can think of is ‘my final destination will be home, Los Angeles, eventually.’ Suddenly one cat rises above the others and looks at me impatiently but logically. His name is: “Amsterdam”. Okay, that’s the truth he wanted to hear. And that’s my lie. It’s not my final destination. Not by a long shot.
Drifting in and out of much needed sleep on the plane. The phrase “final destination” rolls around trying to find a place to settle. It slips back into the mouth, into the throat of the Customs Officer (who now seems to look a lot like Putin). And now, more pointedly, the phrase slides out again. This time it looks directly at me. It’s not messing around. There is clearly no more patience. No tolerance for cute games or deceptive innuendos. This time it wants the truth – my truth. “What Is Your Final Destination?” Suddenly I’m startled awake. ‘What? What?” And all I can think is: Where am I going? Where the hell am I going? And what the hell does ‘final destination’ really mean, anyway?
I drift back into a deep sleep, convinced by the time I reach Amsterdam that either the question will have left me .. or I will have sudden clarity about my final destination.