As I went through airport security, I began to question what I was doing. Sometimes I make wise decisions and sincerely hoped this would turn out to be one, but seeing how crazy security in the airports had become, I couldn't help but wonder if there wasn't something wiser I could be doing.
Still, it had been far too long since I'd last seen Corrina and I was really starting to miss her something fierce.
Neither of us lived where we'd met any more. She had divorced her husband and had moved back east to live with her father, a widower who was working to get his life back on track. I had lost my job and had moved to another state to see if I couldn't make a go of things in a more hospitable climate. The downturn in the economy hurt a lot of professions and there just wasn't enough work in that city any more.
The move had been a good one for me. The people were more down-to-Earth and I felt that they fit me better. To be honest, they fit the person I wished I had been. Temperatures were definitely cooler and that required some adaptation on my part. I was so used to living in the southwest desert and my blood had thinned to the point that I loved the heat. My new high temperatures in high summer were but a shade of what I was used to getting and the lows at that time were downright chilly, but it still felt nice to be in a new chapter of my life.
My new chapter didn't have Corrina in it, though, and that made it feel empty.
Corrina's move had been a good one for her, too. She likes to feel needed and her father definitely needed her in his life. It was a struggle to move forward. I could only imagine the pain he'd gone through at the loss of his wife, and I most certainly did not envy him. I was very glad that things were working out so that she could go back and the two of them could work together on staying afloat and even rise above the tempestuous waves that life seemed to be sending their way. She helped him redecorate the house so that it felt different to come home. She worked to make sure he knew that it was okay to move forward, that they weren't going to forget her mom, but that they needed to remember that they were still alive and that they needed to live.
But I missed her.
So, I was standing in line to be scanned so that I could fly back east to see her. It seemed to be taking forever. The new screening procedures seemed to make things slower on everyone and nobody seemed happy about it. Eventually, I got through it and made my way to the gate. I sat down and pulled out my novel to read, but started to think of Corrina and got too excited to read. I couldn't concentrate on the story when I knew that I would be able to see her in just a few hours.
I sat at the gate and daydreamed. I reminisced about the old times, about how we met, about the feelings that quickly grew in me for her, about how we just couldn't be together, but about how we found times to chat and laugh together. I imagined what it would be like to see her again and to be able to hold her in my arms. I imagined the curves of her body and how it would feel to have them pressed against me. I wondered if she was wearing the Christmas thong that I'd heard about but hadn't seen, the one that excited my every sense just thinking about it. I imagined lying next to her under the covers of her bed and exploring her body with my hands and mouth.
"Last call for passengers boarding flight 321."
I had completely missed my first boarding call! I guess my imagination was in overdrive!
I jumped up and headed to the door to board. I handed my boarding pass to the attendant and she smiled at me.
"It looked like you were thinking good thoughts," she said. "I regretted having to interrupt, but knew you'd probably like to catch your flight."
I grinned at her and said, "Thank you. You're right ... they were delicious thoughts and I would most definitely like to catch my flight. The end of it just might make my thoughts reality."
That made her smile and, with a twinkle in her eye, she said, "I hope it does. Have a great flight."
With a smile, I walked along the gangway towards my plane. I found my seat and, luckily, some space in the overhead bin to store my carry-on. The flight was fairly full, but not packed. I sat in my chair and fastened my seatbelt, then watched as the flight attendants went through the pre-flight instructions. They seemed to enjoy their jobs and they were making jokes as they went. I figured this was going to be a good flight.
I love the feeling of taking off in an airplane. After riding along the tarmac, taxiing to position, we paused while the engines were revved to take-off speed and then the brakes were released and we started down the runway. I was pressed back into my seat as the plane gained speed. The nose of the plane lifted and the air rushing by pressed against the underside of the wings. Soon, we were lifted up from the ground as Bernoulli's principle held true. I felt us fly higher and higher and reveled in the joy of flight.
We banked around to head eastward as we left the airport's airspace and I felt our climb ease towards cruising altitude. Before long, the fasten seatbelt sign turned off with a ding and the attendants stood to begin to help the passengers. I watched them work and watched how the passengers treated them. I liked to try to figure out the personalities of my fellow passengers by how they treated each other and the flight attendants. Some were completely absorbed in their business and seemed to give very little attention to others. Some were really nice, smiling at others and sharing a common, human bond. Some were just rude and seemed to dislike anyone and everyone. The flight attendants responded very well to those who were nice and were simply cordial with the rest. It really helped solidify my belief that we get better treatment from others if we start by treating them well.
The flight passed quickly and, before long, we were being told the weather in our destination and that we'd be there in a matter of minutes. The flight attendants finished picking up the trash from the drinks and snacks they'd delivered earlier then headed back to strap themselves in for the landing. I felt the plane descending rapidly and glanced outside to see the ground coming up to meet us. There's a certain excitement that comes with landing in a plane. There's a moment of uncertainty about whether the landing gear will work properly or if the weather is such that we'll have a bumpy landing. That one was smooth, though, our plane touching down so softly that I could hardly tell we'd landed. Several of us broke out in spontaneous applause at such a marvelous landing. We taxied to our gate and then retrieved our carry-on luggage after the fasten seatbelt sign was disengaged.
"Thank you for the flight and marvelous landing," I said as I reached the door to the plane.
The smile I received back was more than thanks enough.
"Have a wonderful stay," they said as I left the plane.
I had the momentary feeling of disorientation as I left the gangway and entered the airport. Having never been to this one, I wasn't sure where things were, but the signs seemed adequate and I followed their directions to the car rental area. I wasn't planning on staying more than a week, so my carry-on was sufficient for my needs and I didn't need to go to baggage claim.
Walking up to the counter at the Avis booth, I shared my reservation number with the pretty woman waiting to help me. She had a nice smile and sparkling eyes. I noticed her wedding ring and couldn't help but think that her husband was a lucky man to be able to look across the dinner table and see such a pretty woman eating with him. I hoped he knew it and treated her well.
Once I had my key and directions to the cars, I thanked the woman and headed out to find my rental. It was just where she said, which is what I expected, and I walked around it to look for any extra damage. Seeing none, I climbed inside and started it up.
I pulled out the map that the woman at the rental counter had given me and I perused the area. I had looked online at maps so I was somewhat familiar with where I needed to go, but it's always nice to double-check. I planned my route, noting the exits and street names I'd need to watch for, then headed out of the parking lot.
I was getting really excited now. Corrina was about half an hour away.
She was teaching at a local college now and I knew that she was going to be on campus at that time of day. So, that's where I was headed.
The campus was right where I expected to find it and I drove around for a little bit to get my bearings. I noted the names of the buildings and decided that a few of them looked like they could be science buildings. That's where I feel most at home so I found a visitor parking lot nearby and parked then headed over towards the nearest of those that looked comfortable to me.
"Excuse me," I said, stopping a pretty coed as she walked by, "can you direct me to the geography department."
She pointed to the next building, the one next to the one I felt most comfortable with, and said, "it's in that building there."
"Thank you," I said. "Which department is in this building?" I asked.
"That's the engineering building," she said.
"Thank you, again," I said, smiling to myself at the fact that I was most comfortable with the building I would have spent my time in had I gone to school here.
I took a deep breath and walked over to the next building. I could feel my steps moving fast and my heart beating to match. I was getting anxious and excited.
.... There is more of this story ...