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unused_Blog

senses. airport.

liz lamoreux

{smell} The air is stale but seems fresh after getting off the airplane. As I walk a little farther, I begin to smell the carts of fried food. Cinnabons, pretzels, french fries. I am glad I have time to eat.

{hear}
Beep, beep, beep as the cart whizzes by on my left. People talk. Quiet, loud, annoyed, excited, silly, happy, angry tones all around me. Monotone recorded voices remind us not to leave our baggage unattended. Friendly, tired voices call people to their gates. "Just one tonight?" Yes, yes, traveling alone. Eating at a sit down restaurant all alone can be a pleasure, yes, a pleasure, even in an airport. "May I take your order." Hamburger and a Sam Adams please. "May I see your ID?" With pleasure. People talk on cell phones as they sit alone at their tables. I hear a man in annoyed tones who appears to be talking to himself. Then I see the earpiece. Do we know how odd we look talking to no one?

{taste}
I bring the pint of beer to my lips; the rich flavor hits my tongue, then slides down my throat. I smile. Though I don't often drink beer, sometimes a cold beer makes my heart a little happy. And then a hamburger with cheddar cheese. In the last year, hamburgers have become my airport comfort food when I have enough time to sit and eat at a "nicer" airport restaurant. Not sure why. But I am just going with it. As I walk to my terminal, I pull a piece of wintergreen gum from my purse and pop it into my mouth. Fresh breath. Just like that.

{see}
People rush by me on all sides. Pulling their luggage behind them, some almost push each other out of the way. The fear of missing a plane on their faces. Long hallway through the G terminal. Moving walkways as far as you can see. People dressed in jeans, skirts, high heels, flip flops, suits, shorts. Many seem unaware that they are in Minnesota in January. Dreams of someplace warm, anyplace sunny, abound. I am jealous. When I sit down to eat, I pick-up the napkin to unwrap the silverware. For a moment I am confused. Plasticware. Then I remember. Terrorists. Right. No knives. People will steal the knives and try to hurt other passengers. Will they really? Sadness just for a moment. I watch the other diners, other people who are lucky, like me, and have arrived on time with enough of a layover to eat a meal sitting at a clean table in a quieter nook of the airport. A young man with a much older woman. Grandmother and grandson? She laughs as he animatedly tells his story. A woman sits alone and talks on her cell phone, pauses to order, then returns to her conversation. A group of six people get ready to leave. Time to get to their gate. They seem excited. The waitresses hurry with orders, food, drinks because they know their customers are passengers who have a firm agenda. My gaze moves over the words on the last page of a book I started earlier that day.

"It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn't make everything all right. It didn't make anything all right. Only a smile. A tiny thing. A leaf in the woods, shaking in the wake of a startled bird's flight.
But I'll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting."

{feel}
Tears sting my eyes as I read. My heart catches as I find myself hoping with the narrator. I do not want the book to end, so I savor the last few words. As I finish my beer, I note that feeling of drinking a beer on a mostly empty stomach. So no, I won't have another, thank you. I pick up my heavy backpack and swing it behind be, putting one arm through, then the other. I drape my coat over my arm and pick up my other bag. The nervousness of the time kicks in as I walk down the long hall to my gate. Then I see that they aren't boarding yet. A sigh of relief. Find the bathroom. Then back to the gate. Sit down. The calm of having enough time. I reach into my bag and pull out the next book, smiling to myself as I run my hand across the smooth cover.

{and know}
The companion of a good book is a wonderful sort of friend to have as you travel across the country.

(Quote from the last page of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.)