#109 Thirty

by Frank Pryor

Thirty years ago he’d put her on a plane and into the rest of her life, tears on both their faces. There were sound reasons. Youth. Distance. College. Life. The statistics were not good for couples in their circumstances. Passion aside, love aside, he knew he’d fail her somehow. He was certain he wasn’t strong enough to watch her fall slowly out of love with him. He was barely strong enough to put her on a plane and imagine her living a happy life. Without him.

Thirty days ago he’d answered the phone. Part of him managed to make small talk. He heard himself laughing at something she’d said. Heard himself reply, heard her laughter.

Thirty minutes ago the plane had turned on to final approach and he looked down on a city he didn’t know any more. Somewhere in the airport waited a woman whom he’d known as well as that city. Would they be as strange to each other?

Thirty seconds ago he’d stepped onto the escalator and scanned the waiting crowd below. Handshake or hug, she’d asked. There’d been protocol to sort out. Lunch or coffee? Table or booth? I can arrange a layover; should we?

Three seconds they embraced and began to release and his arms wound again more deeply and held her there. She held him more tightly to her and he felt her heartbeat joining his own.

Three more seconds and then time stopped counting.

1 comment:

womenswrites said...

Awesome. Love this story!!