I realize a lot of my stories start in airports, I guess that is because I see them as a no-man´s land. I am in transit to another place and so are the people around me. It makes actions simpler, unbound from norms, happening in a people-cocktail full of cultural differences. In this cocktail, going back a few weeks, me and my intransit body are sitting by my gate in Barcelona. Across from me is a rastafari guy with big rings, a football jersey and braided hair. He looks like the sportsfan son of an African king and has a regal posture. As I plug my earphones in to get my relax on, I see him asking an older Caucasian couple a question while pointing to a gate. What happens next shocks me. With Enya as soundtrack I witness how the couple look at this profilic stranger with disgust and get up to leave without uttering a word. The prince-like man slumped back in his seat now looking more like a warrior that just lost a battle. He stared at the floor like he was searching for the glow that just fell of him.
Seeing what seemed to be an obvious racist gesture I got a huge lump in my throat. Enya now sounded less like an angel and more like a sad screatch. I unplugged her from my ears, got up and walked over to him. "Do you mind watching my bags sir" I said, the hidden message beeing " We are not all the same, I trust you" upon wich he straightened his back and replied. "of course madam, my pleasure". I walked off inwardly cursing my first thought (what if he acually stole my bags now, I would never be able to trust another stranger ever again). But soon realized how silly I was beeing and questioned weather I would have had that thought, had my belongings been protected by a white middle aged man. Since I didn´t really need to do anyhing I walked around and had a look in some shops. When I came back I saw my bags standing right where I left them along with the smiling gentleman that had kept them safe. In that moment I was overcome with happiness because I felt my prejudices leaving. I had proved them wrong.
As I sat down, with my newfound trust, me and the man started a conversation. It turned out this kind stranger, named Fadel, was not only fluent in five languages but also had wast amounts of knowledge in all subjects we discussed. We ventured into the topic of religion and he explained he was a muslim, which he followed up with " and you do not need to be scared". "I know" I replied with a smile, upset that he felt he needed to explain himself. When I told him I was not religious but still full of beliefs he laughed and said that he respected that and me, for beeing open and honest. In the backdrop I could hear people around us whispering and feel how the older causatian coulpe stared with owl-like faces. But some gave us, the interracial strangers, proud smiles and it was clear that we made an impact. That short moment of clarity was the start of a great friendship and as Fadel boarded his plane to Somalia I walked over to mine, heading to Sweden. Soon we would be a thousand miles apart but the ideas we shared and that moment created in no-mans land will remain.