“Okay,” I say, keeping my voice from shaking. Were they monitoring me in the airport? What did I say?
“Bring your passport,” the guard says. Why would I need my passport to ID a bag? Not a good sign.
I feel around my jacket for my passport. “Hurry up,” he says.
“OK, OK,” I say as calmly as I can. Is this all because I took that photo of security?
I look at Emily and want to say, “If I don’t come back...” but I don’t say anything.
We leave the airplane and head back toward the gate. Halfway up the skyway is a small group with a bag. It isn’t mine or Emily’s. “This isn’t my bag.” I say.
“Are you sure?” another guy says. My mind is racing. What is in this bag? Are they trying to pin something on me? I start backing toward the plane, not wanting to get too far away from it.
“It isn’t my bag. I’m getting back on the plane.” I say and turn away, walking briskly toward the plane. I am completely terrified and half expect them to grab me from behind. When they don’t I breathe a massive sigh of relief.
“It wasn’t my bag,” I say to Emily and the flight attendant.
I wonder about the exchange all the way back to New York. I am so thankful when we make it through immigration and are standing waiting for our bags. We wait. And wait...
One of our bags never makes it. A quick check with the Delta fellow explains that we checked three bags in China and only two made it on the plane.
I laugh and wonder if those guards were trying to help find my bag that was supposed to be there. I wonder if what they were going to say was “I’m sorry, sir. What does your bag look like? We will try to find it.” Was the whole thing just lost in translation?
On the flip side, the bag that didn’t make it through had a camera in it and all of the photos from the trip. Did they want to review that stuff before letting it leave the country?
How quickly your mind spins paranoid stories of government manipulation. Our bag showed up a few days later. As far as I could tell all of the stuff is there. But who knows.