“No, there are no gifts from other people in my suitcase. Nobody gave me anything.” He looks at me, with a flirtatious smile, yet contrarily states, “Yes. They did.” I stare blankly at him, what does he mean? Flirting with him let me control the situation, or at least makes it more familiar, but I feel that control slipping as I say “No!” as I guiltily rack my mind, wondering whether I’ve forgotten something. Have they found something in my suitcase? What would it be? “There’s something in the suitcase somebody else gave you,” he repeats. Oh no, it’s what my parents and grandmother warned me about when I was a kid: someone’s slipped drugs in there and if this had been Singapore I’d be facing the death penalty. “If there is, somebody put it in there after I checked in,” I tell him. He laughs, strangely reverting to flirtation, winks at me and tells me I passed the test. I can board the plane. But not before my shoes set the metal detector off and a woman runs her hands down my arms, my breasts, my hips and from my crotch right down to my toes.
I have three seats to myself on the plane though. I stretch out at cross angles to our flight path and sleep through the miles. We arrive an hour early and there’s no line at immigration. The man ahead of me cheerfully slips his finger onto a small pad and smiles at an eyeball shaped camera. I don’t have to: I’m a citizen of a country in the Visa Waiver program. The immigration officer just grins at me, stamps my passport and welcomes me to America. I smile back and walk happily across the border.