Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Truth lies. Part I.

The airport has a bustle that is less excitement and more the rush of getting back to normal. People standing in line at Starbucks in O'Hare are tapping their feet as if to beg the clerk to move faster, to zap them with their caffeine-sugar cocktail that will surge them back into the routine. The sound of rolling suitcase wheels and distant giggles, clinging glasses, gate updates spiral through the air above her. She tunes in for a second, quieting the noise of her head.

"Attention passengers: flight 469 to La Guardia is scheduled to leave at 7:50pm. Our arrival time is being updated as...."

She re-engages her magazine. Shifts in her seat, crossing a leg and begins to read "Three steps to a happier new you". Her eyes feel heavy from the long visit. Nothing in particular to get back to, nothing specifically to complain about. She continues. A slight raise in her body heat forces her to look up, change her positioning again. Not truly appreciating her own body giving her a signal. " Number 1. Wake up with light..." she curls her lip at the obvious veiled sales-tactic already. The tip goes on to describe the latest sunrise simulation alarm clock. "Is nothing pure?" She asks herself. Can we NOT sell something in every syllable? she gets more upset than necessary with the entire idea of it all. Her heart jumps a second.

This time she looks up, sensing something is happening. Someone is looking at her. She feels the eyes on her in the same nature a grazing gazelle knows when a cunning cat of some sort is sizing it up. In an instant she sees him. A pang so sharp it has after-shocks, strikes her chest. Her breath stops and she looks down in pure fearful reaction. Her mind doesn't have time to process what is happening. He walks over. Lifts an eyebrow. The lines on his face smile at her with a knowing familiarity and she stands.Limply, like a child raises from a chair before being asked to answer a difficult question.

"I thought it was you" He says. Starting to talk from farther than a normal conversation is held. He seems uncomfortable yelling, but ready to start talking . So he does.

"It's me." She lifts both arms as if to say Ta-Dah half-hearted. Her eyes as alert as humanly possible. Heightened sense of awareness. She immediately realizes how tired she must look. She brushes some fallen hair behind an ear. Doing so, she notices the heat of it (her ear, not the moment, although it is equally molten)

"Merry Christmas...I guess." He giggles and takes a step towards her. Leans left to hug her and then darts back to look at her for a second. A moment for approval. She looks at him with big open eyes.

They hug. He hugs tightly, and she can smell him. Fresh powder and bachelor's smell. A mixture of leather briefcases, and stale college room with a hint of peppermint gum for good measure. She inhales the air slowly, deliberately.

His hands pat her back a few times to signal he is letting go. Her hair is on his shoulders, falling in pieces on his blue shirt. She stands still. Her arms bent at the elbow, palms open on his back. He pulls away. His face closer to her this time.

"You were watching me. Were you debating saying hello?" She sounds wounded and clipping at the same time.

"No, of course I wasn't. I just noticed it was you. " He lies.

"How are things?" He asks with his head tilted. His hand in a pocket to seem a little more in control. "I heard you are writing." He asks and states.

"I'm trying. Always have been. " she looks down at his shoes. His face bargains her love back from anger, and she needs anger for survival. "Don't do this thing, OK?" She says curtly.

"What thing?" He shifts his weight on to his back leg, recognizing now that she isn't willing to play the surface game. His pale face shows the heat of blood rushing.

"This thing. Where you pretend what happened, didn't. I act interested in anything other than if you are feeling any remnant echos of pain. Where I crack jokes so you feel assured things are fine, and then I walk away feeling used, beat up and dishonest, all in the name of making sure YOU don't feel accountable for anything you have done." she breathes and notices that looking back at his face didn't dilute the anger that time.

"Stop....." He shakes his head squints his eyes as if to not understand." What?" He fights the instinct to retreat. He reaches for her arm. Holds it tightly. "You look great."

"I don't." she shakes her head. "Don't make it so apparent that you know my weaknesses." She smiles through a furrowed brow. "It makes me feel trite"

"You do that. I just give you compliments. And I do....know you." He says softly. They lock eyes and both hearts volley in the air in unison at the truth being spoken for the first time since they last saw each other.

Their inexplicably kindred hearts stay a float within their separate rib-cages, feeding from the energy between them. Like two eager children hoping they are allowed outside to play. The silence between them carries a weight of loving temptation and the sound of playful plee.

She looks at him and notices three letters on his boarding pass: "LGA"

"Let's have a drink for the sake of holiday cheer and past bygones?" He proposes, shocked that the words left his mouth. The spontaneity and emotion of it all always drops his walls of reason.

"You buy. You beg forgiveness. You make me laugh and nothing bad can happen." She marks her last comment with a pointing finger as if to give a clear and obvious instruction.

His phone vibrates. He clicks it open with one hand. He rolls his eyes at the number appearing. She feels the anticipation of his offer-retraction melting her to nothingness. Her tear-ducts begin to swell at the disappointment and fear of it all. "No, you must be.." She begins.

He closes the phone, and cuts her off: "Done. Maybe. Done, and c'mon, on baby Jesus' birthday? No way." He quips and picks up her bag. The smell of him whiffs by her nose and she follows it. Follows him.

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