A baby shrieks. Then another, maybe more, it’s hard to tell. The labrador puppy in the crate at the feet of the man next to her whimpers. It’s a sad, hopeless sound. People lie on the floor around her, trying to get some sleep. They are all homeless and this is the street. A man lies behind a dead slot machine wearing a bright orange T shirt. “Another day in paradise” it reads.
Getting to the airport was nearly impossible. Leah is exhausted. There was no gas, no food. Her feet still ache from walking for two hours. Her grandmother, Maria, decided they had to leave after they ran out of food and realized they would not survive on water and coffee. She leans on her grandmother’s shoulder, a pillar against the storm. When she closes her eyes, all Leah can see is what she left behind. Her childhood home in ruins, the roof wrenched off, the walls crumbling. The last time she saw it, as she looked over her shoulder, the building was a disfigured version of the home she had lived in all of her life. Her mother, Rebecca, stood on what was once the porch, waving as Leah and Maria walked away. It was an image that would have been normal without the house in ruins behind her mother. Now they wait for a flight that may never arrive, their hopes dwindling with each passing moment.
Suddenly a plane rolls up to the nearby gate. Cheers erupt throughout the airport. Leah feels hopeful for the first time in a long time. Could this be the flight that she has waited for? She looks at Maria. The old woman shakes her head dejectedly, a sad smile on her lips. Leah can feel the tears coming, her throat tightening, she tries to push them down. Her eyes water and she puts her face in her hands. Everything that happened comes flooding back, again and again. They left everything behind, but they had nothing left.