The line moves in spasms, little fits of stopping and starting. All around: coughing, grumbling, the whining and crying of children, the barks of irritated adults. He is adrift in a river of misery, drawn slowly on towards the little booths with their tired attendants and thumping stamps.
He clutches his passport, making sure he has it close. He won’t need it for another ten minutes – perhaps twenty – but he wants to be ready. Announcements echo: last calls for flights to cities he has never heard of, messages to people he does not know. He tugs his suitcase closer, trying to make space for the couple behind, shoving forward like all this is for them and everyone else is an inconvenience.
A traveller and her family are pulled aside. He’s not sure if they’re being giving a pass to the front or an interrogation, but she follows the attendant with dignity, even with two children tugging at her legs.
He tries not to pay attention to security guards with their guns in their holsters and their stern faces as the crowd surges again. An anxious voice tells him something’s gone wrong.
He checks his watch. It’s only been three minutes.
Word Count: 200
This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Thanks to Susan for running the challenge!