Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Airport Challenge

A quick scene at the local airport...


"Last call for flight 536 with service to London."

The flight attendant put down the microphone. He took a last look around the gate in preparation for closing the door.

"Wait, wait – hold the door!"

The shout came from a young couple, racing hand in hand for the gate. The girl wore a sun dress, white cotton with a flowered print. Her hair was down, looking slightly tousled. The boy with her wore khaki pants, topped by an inexpensive golf shirt. They arrived at the gate slightly out of breath. The woman had a hand bag, the strap thrown over her head so it rested across her chest, but that was the only baggage either of them had. Neither of them could have been older than 20.

"You're lucky," the flight attendant said, "I was just about to close the door. May I have your boarding pass?"

The young woman looked at him, a pleading expression on her face. "Can we have just a moment? Please – I may never see him again."

Maybe it was the look in her eyes, or perhaps the imploring tone of her dainty British accent, but the flight attendant acquiesced.

"One minute."

The girl nodded in thanks, then turned to the young man. He took her by the hands. They stared at each other, seeming to drink each other in.

"Are you sure you have to go, Priscilla?"

"You know I do, Clark. Mother is very sick. There is no one else to care for her."

There was a moment of poignant silence. When the man finally spoke, his voice was on the edge of breaking.

"I don't know that I can go on without you."

The girl's eyes rimmed with tears.

"Oh, Clark. My heart breaks leaving you like this. I wish circumstances were different. I wish I could stay here in the warm safety of your arms. I wish I could promise to return. But…"

Clark placed a finger on her lips. The action broke the dam of her emotions and the tears fell freely.

"I understand, darling. You choose the better part. Just, please, never forget me."

"Oh, Clark - never. Never!"

He kissed her then, gently at first, then more passionately until flight attendant felt embarrassed watching them. He cleared his throat. They seemed to come back then, from the private place they had been. Both looked slightly out of sorts.

"Well, then," Clark said.

"Well, then," Priscilla said in response. "I guess this is goodbye."

An announcement came over the loudspeaker, then, interrupting them.

"Last call for flight 1134 to Rome, now boarding at gate B17."

Priscilla blinked. She turned to the flight attendant.

"Where is this flight's destination? " she asked.

"London," the attendant replied. The couple exchanged glances.

"Wrong flight," they said together. Their faces suddenly lit up in impish grins.

"Luciana," the man said. "We must away to gate B17. You'll miss your plane."

"Yes, Antonio," the girl replied, her British accent gone, replaced by something unmistakably Italian. She winked at the flight attendant. "My poor father is sure to perish without me."

The two took each other by the hand and raced off down the concourse. The flight attendant stood there for a moment, mouth open in disbelief. He considered, just for a moment, calling security. Then he shook his head. Young love…. He closed the door to the gangway, bolted the lock, and returned to the gate counter, his lips upturned in his own impish grin.