Friday, December 18, 2009

sparks in the airport

dave's rather cheery this christmas - this is his encounter with a young couple sitting in the main lobby. as with the whole story, everything except dave is real:

Back in the airport, the first hub of the morning had passed and the lobby had grown quieter. A man in a green jacket pushing a baby carriage stared up at the arrivals screen in front of Dave.
Dave spotted a well-dressed young couple sitting together on the bench facing the elevator. Two people, one set of luggage. Clearly sitting together, but far enough apart so they didn’t touch. Dave wandered over. Sat beside them. They weren’t talking, so he had to.
“Where you heading to?” he asked casually.
Ryan filled him in: he was heading to Montreal, but a driving delay meant he’d missed his flight and would be going via Toronto, which meant he had a few hours to kill in the airport. So, he called Julie, who lived nearby.
“We’re friends,” he said. “We used to date. We don’t any more.”
They both laughed at that.
Like Dave, Ryan wasn’t dreading a long stint in the airport. He was actually looking forward to it.
“I like people watching,” he confided.
So did Dave. And people listening.
Ryan had just finished exams and was heading to Quebec for “a bit of partying.”
Julie wasn’t up for it, but she came out to keep him company while he waited.
Dave wondered if they were really through dating. He entertained romantic thoughts of an airport reunion: he had observed that the wheels-in-the-air finality of airport departures had a way of forcing emotions to the surface. Bus stations always depressed him. People sitting in dreary waiting rooms, waiting for a grumpy bus to pull up, disgorge its human contents, and swallow up a new meal. Then, the slow pullaway, brakes squeaking, bus rolling over the curb, passengers rolling around the bus, stopping for traffic, edging away through clogged streets.
You could always get off a bus. You could hedge your bets.
Not with airplanes – once you took off, you were gone.
So maybe that would sway Ryan and Juliet, Dave dreamed.
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