Saturday, February 05, 2011

Stranded with the Angel – December 2009





Part 1 of 2


I had just landed in Minneapolis airport when I discovered my connecting flight home was cancelled, due to the bad weather. I quickly disregarded any ideas of staying in a hotel, as I would be stranded until the next flight the next morning. I had told myself not to do it for economical reasons, when that wasn’t at all the issue. The idea of being stranded at an airport for the rest of the day and night excited me. I haven’t been on this kind of adventure since I was sneaking through people’s backyards in the daylight when I was younger.


So preparing for the long night after getting tickets for the next day I grabbed some late lunch. It was a popular sandwich shop where I’ve eaten before, but should have taken precautions, since I was after all at the airport. Within the first few bites into the sandwich I knew I was going to be sick. The chicken mushed between my teeth the way chicken does when you microwave it. I finished my meal with a soup that didn’t at all comfort my stomach or my appetite.


I left the food area and found a gate to read. I looked at my watch and it read 2:34pm. That gave me at least five hours to finish the graphic novel I had started on my flight here.


I got a bout ¾ of the way through when my necked locked from stiffness. I stretched my neck and arms and noticed the empty gate I found was now sparsely filled with people. I looked at my watch and it read 6:09pm. To my left was a woman in her early 30's of Mediterranean descent reading a magazine, while her young child stood on the seat next to her surveying the area, occasionally smiling when he made eye contact with someone. If the boy didn’t smile, I wouldn’t have seen her directly in front of me.


She was a brunette, natural, like damp autumn. She released a smile for the kid and held it as she looked down on her book. I couldn’t make out a title or author, but the whiteness of the cover exuded only the purest book that only she would read.


She was young, probably in college. She wore glasses that matched her necklace. She wasn’t thin or overweight, but had a body of a 60’s starlet. She crossed her black boots over each other as she adjusted herself in the seat. She couldn’t have looked more comfortable in her navy blue hoodie and light colored blue jeans.


She didn’t notice me looking at her. Her book was far too interesting. Even when the boorish man behind me began to talk loudly on his phone about acquiring rodeo tickets, she couldn’t be distracted.


Out of habit I checked my watch: 6:10. This creature had warped time, suspending it all so that she could read her book. I caught myself staring obviously and quickly averted my eyes and looked down at my comic book, which was covered in a mockingly garish yellow that screams “Look at my book!” even if the pages in between the covers didn’t express that.


I tried to read the words, but they were unreadable, the pictures unfamiliar. I couldn’t think of anything, but stealing another glance. I breathed calmly and looked up. She licked her licks slowly and I quickly looked down in a way that called attention to my actions. I could have sworn I imagined her licking her lips, because I could not believe I saw something that unconscious. I caught a moment of herself, not controlled or planned, but natural and instinctual.


My stomach grumbled loudly and I felt my hunger swimming to my cheeks, but I didn’t want to leave my place. I feared I could lose the chance to see the unseen. I sat looking at my comic book hoping it distracts my hunger, but it didn’t. I concentrated harder on getting my mind off my hunger and that’s when I began to sweat. “This is ridiculous.” I thought, “I’ll just go grab some food and come back.” I looked at the brunette who I imagined to be more avidly trying not to look at me since I had been driven to squirminess.


I stole one more glance that shouted desperation and left wobbly. I quickly got some food and returned to the gate I had previously sat in.


She was gone. Her flight; boarded and gone. I was disappointed, which would surprise anyone but me. I had lost her. Her licked lips and all…

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