Saturday, May 27, 2017

A short story in under 600 words

Note: hang in there readers. Sometimes I enjoy endulging myself in a tiny bit of fiction and showing off. 

When I walk past the woman the third time, I make the connection.
Her clothes are rumpled from what appears to have been a long travel day, and now with more to come, thanks to the announced delay at the Orlando gate, the outfit will have to hold up a bit longer. It’s to be my final leg home. Who knows where she goes from Philadelphia?

I fixate on her choice of shoes–navy-running sneakers with neon orange laces. One time I wore sneakers thinking it would make the long walks from gate to gate easier, and beforehand I went into total denial about having to take them on and off at the security TSA checkpoint. Do you think I could ease out of them hopping first on one foot and then the other without making a complete idiot of myself?  Never again. I run that scenario over and over to keep my nerves at bay when I have to rush into action–flat shoes, purse, computer in a separate bin-before I leave the airport shuttle bus.

She is youngish. I am guessing she’s in her late thirties, although it is hard to tell by her firmly toned body. She could be older, more in the age bracket of my step-niece who fools everybody at forty-seven. Definitely, she is someone who works out, and by the looks of the rest of her clothes-–all coordinated North Face from top to leggings–her style is casual and understated. She’s put a little thought into her wardrobe selection and she has not spared the expense.

It is a habit of mine to notice luggage and hers is a sleek hard body shiny black carry-on with a custom Delta Airlines luggage tag‒A Delta Queen then with lots of miles in the air? One of my main goals in traveling is being able to handle my own luggage and get away with hands free as much as possible. I observe little old ladies in my age bracket who struggle and expect a kindly young person to tackle removing heavy awkward luggage from the above seating bins and I think to myself that when my day comes, I will quit flying. She has an air of independence about her, and I haven’t lost mine either. I sit up a little straighter in my seat, and check my phone for messages.

The longer we wait in the terminal, the more restless people become, and the volume of chatter increases as a result echoing off the high ceilings hurting my ears. The woman, on the other hand, slumps down in the plastic gray seat with both feet propped up on her suitcase and her head leaning into her cell phone oblivious to what’s around her. Ha. A seasoned road warrior who is making the best of a situation gets my admiration. I lost my patience, if I ever had any, ages ago.

 Back and forth I’ve hiked to the ladies room for that one last visit just to make sure, to the kiosk for a bottle of water so I won’t be held captive to the undependable whim of the flight attendant onboard and to the observation area to watch planes take off and land assuring me that the entire airport itself has not shut down due to bad weather. It is on my final stroll down the carpeted hallway that it dawns on me that I would be that very woman years ago, and I like what I see very much.