He shifted his weight in the third chair of the single pew at Baggage Claim C. He was amazed at how these thin seats initially looked comfortable, but soon made him squirm to find a good position. His elbows banged up against the metal arms on both sides of his seat. Why do humans intentionally design discomfort?
“Flight 0804 has arrived,” the automated voice announced to the air. “Baggage can be claimed at Baggage Claim C. For passengers flying to another destination, please check the consoles located throughout the terminal.”
He was expecting many important people arriving on this flight. Dignitaries, financiers, artists and musicians were listed on the manifest. But he was especially interested in a woman he had yet to meet. Her postcards always managed to reach him, bits of her life scribbled on the backs of beaches, mountains and cities. Her simplicity intrigued him.
“I like this town. I may stay here awhile.”
“I didn’t realize how much this beach meant to me.”
“These mountains must reach heaven.”
The tired-looking travelers started filing in one by one, pushing the turnstyle that ended their journeys. He recognized the young senator from Illinois who will lead a nation, and another man who will challenge Israel’s sovereignty. He smiled fondly at a dark colored man who will sing about how wonderful life is, and nodded briefly at a man whose baseball career will be tainted by his credibility before lawmakers.
He stood when a small woman came through, carrying an overstuffed red purse and a slim computer bag. She seemed so . . . ordinary next to these other destinies. Yet he recognized her by her expectant glances at different faces, and a small smile that breathed anticipation.
She set her bags down near the baggage conveyer and ran her fingers through her hair. She was business-like in her movements, yet bent down to talk to a little Asian boy who will star in a TV series about being lost.
She saw him walking towards her, and her smile broadened. “I knew you’d be here,” she murmured when he stood a few inches away.
He gently placed his hands on her shoulders, and said quietly, “Welcome to Gaia, child.” They hugged as old friends do when time is of no essence.
“Let me help you with your bags,” he offered, as they waited for the conveyer to deliver her life.
– a birthday present to myself