No Passport, No Tickets

At eighty-six, he wants to fly.
The passport office clerk’s amused.
Is there someone he wants to meet?
No, just somewhere he wants to go.
Is there someone to go with him?
Yes, just the one who’s with him now.
They must be waiting outside, then.
Yeah. Waiting. Outside. Sounds correct.
It’s okay if he calls them in.
It’s okay. She’s a little shy.
His daughter? Or a niece, perhaps?
His daughter, yes. In-law, but yes.
Alright. His son won’t go with him?
No no. His son has gone ahead.
He said he has no one to meet?
No no. He has no one to meet.
It’s not her business anyway.
Yes, not her business, but okay.
The visa guys will ask him, though.
The visa guys will ask him, yes.
She’s done. She’s heading out for tea.
He’s grateful. Coffee’s more his thing.
The passport office guard salutes.
The clerk signals a smoke and winks.
The guard is ready with the match.
That old man wants a passport, ma’am?
He has a right. She hopes he’s right.
He’s not at all alright up there.
She coughs and waves and signals why.
He brought an urn with ashes, ma’am.
The man returns. He’s left his pen.
She eyes the urn in crimson cloth.
He says they keep refusing him.
He wants his foreign ticket too.
And now they’re left with no excuse.

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