"In Transit" - A Short Story by Mavis Gallant - the title story in her 1998 Collection
This post is written in hope that Mass will once again be offered at Norte Dame Cathedral on Christmas Day in 2020
"In Transit" is set in the Helsinki airport. Of course one's experience now will vary depending on the airport, since 1989 some airports like Singapore's are truly winderful and others thirty years past due for renovation. One can assume the 1989 Helsinki Airport was strictly functional.
In airports people tend to project onto strangers, to help pass the time. There are two couples in our story, a newly married French couple, maybe 27 or so and a couple identified as Americans from their accents. The French man is working on a series of articles for a Paris newspaper. He understands English but hides this so he can ease drop. Maybe journalism is just a code name for superficial observations meant for newspaper readers.
The American couple are continuing what the Frenchman sees as a life time quarell about the nature of their relationship:
"The wild thoughts of the younger man were: They are chained for the rest of this life. Too old to change? Only a brute would leave her now? They are walking toward the door marked AMSTERDAM, and she limps. That is why they cannot separate. She is an invalid. He has been looking after her for years. They are going through the Amsterdam door, whatever their tickets said."
I imagine the Frenchman is wondering if they are his future. He and his wife have already started what looks life a life time issue over why he left his first wife.
Is it just me or does Gallant often portray Americans in a one-demensional way?
Of course the young Frenchman might be totally wrong about the older couple.