I’m not the type of person who travels all the time, but I’ve been on enough airplanes to know how the process works. I made sure to hop in an Uber three hours ahead of schedule to give myself time to get through security. I had my liquids tucked away in a ziplock bag. I had removed my piercings from my nose and naval. I had everything covered. It was supposed to be a stress free flight (at least, as stress free as an airport could possibly be).
However, things started unraveling when I was trying to get through TSA. Something on my body set off the metal detectors. I had stripped off my jewelry, removed my belt, and dropped my keys into my bag, so I had no idea what could have been triggering the alarms.
One of the female TSA agents patted me down and approved me to proceed deeper into the airport, but the whole ruckus left me confused. What on earth had set off the alarms? I couldn’t come up with a logical answer, aside from the possibility the machine must have made a mistake. It could have chirped on accident.
By the time I landed in South Carolina, I forgot all about it. I pushed it to the back of my mind, assuming it wasn’t a concern anymore.
The following week, I spent some time with old friends from high school I hadn’t seen since moving to NYC. During half the trip, I felt sick enough to cancel on them, but I forced myself to follow through since I was only going to be in town for ten days.
Besides, I didn’t think I was coming down with the flu. I figured it was only allergies. The air was different in SC. The seasons were slightly different. It was natural for my body to react to such a sudden change.
I popped a few allergy pills throughout the week, which helped my running nose, but it didn’t do much for my unsettled stomach. Maybe I was going to get my period early, but it didn’t feel like the same sensation. This felt heavy, like something was weighing down my insides. I had to pee every half hour. There were a few times when I swore I was going to throw up, but I swallowed it back down again.
When it was time for me to head back home to New York, I stepped into the airport expecting to be let through to the other side without another issue.
But the x-rays beeped again. A woman had to pat me down again.
She ran her hands across my shoulders and sides and stomach. She stopped a little bit above my hip, where the pain had been all throughout my trip.
“Did you have some kind of surgery?” she asked. “Is there a pacemaker inside of you or some sort of metal plating?”
I shook my head. She cocked her head.
“Maybe you should get checked out by a doctor,” she said. “There’s something… inside of you. I’ve never felt anything like that before. If it set off the alarm, it must be some sort of metal. Honestly…” She trailed off.
“It just… it feels like it’s kicking, like some sort of baby, but it… it doesn’t feel human.”