Monday, November 30, 2009

Crossing the Tarmac

This a response to a writing challenge. Mez told me to write a story about "the person you'd least expect to see in an airport terminal". I hope this very short story meets with her (and your) approval. Please rate this story below, and leave comments.

David walked in line with the other passengers from the plane towards the terminal. He adjusted his tie with his free right hand: he always felt like he was on show, walking on the tarmac. He remembered how, as a boy, his parents would take him and his brother Adrian to the observation deck to look at the planes. Adrian had been obsessed with planes, but David had been intrigued by the people walking between the planes and the terminal. Now he looked up to the observation deck and wondered if some other young boy was up there, dreaming about the destinations and motivations of the passengers below, as he once did.

David didn't know who was going to pick him up from the airport. Things were hectic at the family home, with the whole family converging on the town for his grandfather's funeral. In any case, he'd been assured that someone would be sent to fetch him. That could be awkward. There was a handful of people in David's extended family that he would loathe getting into a car with, and about the same number that felt the same way about David. Eventually, David decided that his sister May would get the job. Though they only talked on the phone a few times a year – life was just so busy – they didn't hate each other. How many kids did May have now?, he wondered. Four? Yes four, definitely; or five. David didn't mind his sister, and he could get on with May's husband (what was his name?), but he really couldn't stand his nephews and nieces. He hoped she didn't bring any to the airport. The small ones were screaming poo factories. The big ones had been hitting puberty pretty hard last time David had had the misfortune of crossing paths with them. That was about two years ago; maybe three.

As the glass door to the terminal opened, covering David with a gust of cold air-conditioning, he decided that starting now, he'd keep in better contact with his family gain. He knew it was guilt that drove him to make this secret commitment, but he didn't care. It was a promise he'd made, and broken, plenty of times before. It made him feel better, for a while.

Inside the terminal, David looked around for his sister. He couldn't see her. Instead, a tall, blonde bombshell that looked no more than sixteen or seventeen years old bounded up to him, gave him a big hug, and kissed him on the cheek. "Hello Uncle David," she said. "I'm here to pick you up. Did you check any baggage, or do you just have the carry-on?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Must you have used that name? Very good story otherwise - quite a twist in the ending, very surprising!