Tuesday, April 23, 2013

272 Nonstop to Wherever

There’s a pair of large Armani sunglasses and a woman in all grays lapping her bags. She holds them tight as if losing her four pairs of Zanotti pumps would mean the end of her life. Or her child’s. The eleven-year boy that sits meekly at her side focused, a little too deeply, on his I-Phone 5.  They never say a word. But I imagine there’s a story there. A divorce and a house. A two birthday’s a year. A father that married for love then five years later had an affair for the same reason. He would insist it wasn’t her fault. It was nobodies fault—So three movies and six Botox injections into her forehead later he would just say, “It’s me-- I’ve changed. You’ve done nothing wrong.” She would always wonder if it were that simple.

There’s a stoic boy in a camouflage uniform. On his left breast it says Private Smith. A name easily forgotten. How many Smith’s could there be in the armed forces? How many Smith’s have served between now and the civil war? It’s a name you can be proud of-- If one wishes. But I imagine there’s a story there. A skirmish in the Middle East. A roadside car bomb with stray bullets that saw his friends lifeless, limbless, discharged and lost in their hometowns by people that can never relate. Private Smith would insist he pulled his friends out of the jeep for the love of his brothers. That it came easy for him. To be the only one of a two team caravan unaffected. The one person with intact legs and arms. The lucky one. But when they gave him the Purple Heart, and designated him back for assignment, he could only think of how it should have been him that day.

There’s a twenty-year couple racing tongues at the terminal. Two people that, in their minds, are the only two people on the planet. They say their goodbyes and reluctantly part ways. But for how long this time? A few weeks? A couple months? A Year? There must be a story there. A prom date and a promise ring. A first girlfriend going off to college. She always assumed they’d wait for each other. But four weeks later he finally realized he couldn’t wait for her. Their long-distance relationship crashing slowly over 64bits of dead Skype chats and reneged proposals of every night phone calls. It wasn’t until she came home for Christmas with a large stomach and a couple nervous words that they realized they had become two completely different people.

There’s a man with a five-o-clock shadow and a suit. He holds his phone and types persistently at his laptop. He works diligently as he drinks mango flavored coconut water. He emails and calls and fiddles with his I-pad. His work takes precedence over every aspect of his life. And as much as he desperately wants us to think he enjoys it-- there must be a story there. A company with unreal expectations. A man on the verge of a mental breakdown. A prepubescent high school kid who was pushed a little too hard. Teased a little too often. He would watch gym class from afar. Take his lunches on the patio. He would pray to god for his classmates to leave him alone that day. But they seldom did. He would duck and dive through the hallways. Walk fast down the streets to his house. Type on his computer and turn his work in on time. Each time thinking to himself, “Some day I’ll show you all.” What he’s capable of.

There’s an airport cold cut and a man with a baseball hat. He picks the icy-wet ham from his sandwich and looks on at the passersby, each one of them waiting for a flight. 272 bound for Los Angeles. 191 headed for Detroit. Flight 404 coming back from Fort Lauderdale. There’s a microburst and a delay. A crowded terminal full of anxious smokers just trying to get home. Or outside. So they head back through security, glancing just slightly at the man sitting alone at the bar picking apart his airport cold cut. People must pass him by and think to themselves ~ That’s weird; there must be a story there.

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