Saturday, December 19, 2009

a special way of being afraid

the airport is wide awake and hard at work chucking people around the world. quality inn kindly gave me a bed last night and i expected to be asleep in minutes, but was up later than jimmy kimmel.

dave had a worse night. i poked him awake when i got here and he stepped into his last day.


Dave rolled over, throwing his arm over his eyes to block out the ever-daylight brightness. It had been a rough night. Once the last flights had landed and departed, he had the airport mostly to himself. The bench facing the tarmac windows was long enough to curl up on, but sleep didn’t come. Airports, like hospitals, are always awake.
Drifting past 4am, his thoughts drifted back to Will, and his mid-night brewery epiphany. A line from a Philip Larkin poem about the ‘soundless dark’ of 4am echoed through his head: ‘This is a special way of being afraid/no tricks dispel.’
Dave was relieved when the first suitcase wheels hit the ground. Families arrived to meet flights, flights took off, and the perpetual motion machine swung back into action.
He was hours away from his own flight. Going home – though that seemed a funny thing to call a place after so long away. He had aging parents, a remote brother and a few long-expired friendships from university. He had joined Facebook to snoop around on his home town and discovered his university girlfriend. Her profile was locked down, but she was alone in her picture. Dave knew it didn’t mean she was single – or even that those ashes could spark again – but it seemed like something.
He hauled himself off his makeshift bed and crawled to the coffee shop for his morning drink.
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