I was trying to put my shoes back on – and jacket, and hairclip, and all the things that once were in my pockets – when I was called by security.
– Is this your backpack ma`am? – the chubby, middle aged English man asked.
– Yes – I answered, a little concerned with the time of my flight – is there a problem?
– No, ma`am, I just need to check an item. Can you open it for me, please?
– Sure – I said, as I opened it – what is it exactly? – I started to take item by item from the stuffed backpack.
– It looks like a star, and it seems to be metallic.
That was when it hit me. I completely forgot to put that in the big bag I had checked-in. I nervously took the object out of the bag.
– Wow! What is this, ma`am? Can I take a look?
– Sure, it`s just decorative, you see. I`ll put it on my wall.
– Are you sure? Well, can you wait here for a second? I`ll be right back.
I sat down as the man took the object to an officer. The man looked very surprised as he studied the metallic object I had brought with me in my carry-on bag. He looked even more surprised when the security guard pointed at me. He looked back at the object and back at me a couple of times before he walked towards me.
– Is this yours? – he asked, a bit smiley.
– Yes… I mean, it was a present.
– A present? From who?
– A boyfriend.
– Ha! – he seemed to contain his laugh.
– It`s decorative, I`m supposed to put it on my wall.
– Really? – he paused for a second, not believing my excuse – Do you know martial arts, miss? – I couldn`t help but smile, he smiled back – you know you can`t be taking a ninja star to an airplane, don’t you?
– Yes, I do… It was supposed to be in my other bag. But, seriously, it was a present, look at the center – he read the words that said: “I`m with you, soul mate”.
– I understand, miss, but you can`t be walking around with sharp stuff in this country.
– I understand, mate – I instantly regretted using the word “mate” with my American accent, it sounded like I was mocking – but look at me, do you think I`m going to attack anybody with this?
He actually looked at me from top to bottom: a skinny girl in my twenties, wearing jeans, Uggs and a Zara top, carrying a converse bag, a cute backpack full of little stuffed animals hanging from it and carrying a stuffed panda bear in my hands. I couldn`t look like I represented that much of a threat for international security. He was convinced of my innocence, but now he had to convince his superiors. He walked away and talked a good ten minutes on the radio. He came back with a grave expression.
– Listen, I received orders to arrest you.
– What? – My heart nearly stopped at that moment, my brain was already working on finding a way out when the English police officer smiled.
– But I told them it wouldn`t make any sense, it was a present and you are not a threat. It was pretty close, huh?
I wanted to hug the man in relief, but that wouldn`t be appropriate so I just thanked him. We talked about martial arts for a few minutes while I grabbed all of my stuff.
– You get to keep my star, don`t you? – I asked, missing it already.
– I can`t let you in with this.
– Well, take good care of it.
– Have great flight, miss.