Airport Story

The last time I visited Calgary, my friends (who lived in the far south) wanted to pick me up from the airport (in the north). It was a weekday morning and both of them worked. After a minor debate and delay, the husband was nominated to get me since he didn’t start his shift till midday.

I waited. And waited.

I enjoyed the wait, because I saw people come and go, and I made up stories in my mind about who they were, where they were going, or who they were greeting.

Most of all, I noticed a somewhat unkempt man who had made efforts to be presentable despite a seeming tendency to fray at the edges. He was carrying a small, modest bouquet of typical flowers, the kind that might have been purchased at Safeway.

I loved him.

I wanted to tell him how sweet and wonderful he was, to bring flowers for someone he was meeting at the airport.

But I didn’t.

His nervous eagerness shot out of his darting, seeking eyes, no doubt awaiting a fresh, new beloved. Perhaps it was an internet romance’s first face-to-face meeting. He was not young. He looked like he had already been trampled by a heartbreak or two. But his pacing was like a teenager who had never been kissed. He wasn’t quite sure how it was done, and he was long overdue for the experience.

As I waited… and waited… I saw this bouquet-bearing lover’s forehead start to glisten over with sweat. Repeatedly checking the arrivals updates, his cell phone with no messages, he walked distances down the airport halls and back again. The bouquet was getting increasingly limp, flower heads facing the floor, as his shoulders began to hunch over, sadness setting in.

About an hour after my arrival, I spotted my friend and rushed over to give him a hug. As we gabbed about the traffic and made our way out of the building, I took one more look back.

The man was still there, head drooped, flower stems slipping from his grasp as he stood there, waiting… waiting.

© March 3, 2014 | Annie Zalezsak


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