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Like meeting for the first time again, every time…

January 17, 2007

Mike arrived. His plane landed at LAX in the morning. He had come from snow to a place of cool autumnesque weather. Well, that’s what the pilot told him, anyhow, since he had yet to experience it. The place was crowded. He carried his red bag, containing what he thought were the essentials for carry-on luggage: A change of clothes, a book, his cell phone, pen, and crossword puzzle book. As he walked, feet aching from the not yet broken in shoes he got at GAP, he grasped the frontmost strap in his right hand. Almost using the bag like a sling. He gripped, knuckles white and forearm strained. He was nervous.

They had met twice before now, he and this woman, this amazing beacon of hope and salvation. A week in Mexico and another in his home. He looked at the people. He expected to feel out of place, coming from Kentucky. He also expected to have his wallet stolen, feel ugly, and be ridiculed for his accident, mostly hidden with a concious effort. She made him feel handsome, though. She reassured him none of the aforementioned would happen to him. He believes she is right, but the fear of such never really goes away. Just hides under a fake confidence.

Down the escalator and to the right. Bags flowed before him, herded like cattle (and the passengers themselves) from some unseen source. Out the little door, around the carousel, and back to grandmother’s house they go. Some must have gotten lost their trek, as they passed several times. He watched for his own calf of a bag, picking up several that were not it. He ignored a person that moved beside him, focusing on the bags. It’s like Where’s Waldo, but if you lsoe you don’t close a book, you just don’t have clothes or toiletries for the week stay.

“It’s right there” floated the voice behind him. Just a hint of the New England accent, or what he thought it was. Joyful and so familiar. She poked him in the ribs.

“Hey!” He said, turning with the slow awareness that it was her. He hugged her, which he enjoyed because she was as tall as him, taller in heels like she was now. She smelled like heaven. Her hair roaming free in tight brown curls around her head. “I didn’t see you. Have you been waiting long?”

“No I just got here. Good timing, huh?” She smiled, beaming happiness directly at him. The bag was heavy with his stuff.

“Very good timing. Now what?”

“Now we get my car, nubcake.” she said, starting to walk away and out. He followed, a little shrunk inside himself. He loved her dearly, but being so far was like meeting for the first time again every time. He hadn’t seen her in around two months. He was all too aware how beautiiful she is, and wondered not for the first time what the hell saw in him. Bad teeth, thinning hair, and poor posture are not generally qualitites a woman looks for. He asked her that once, after hearing about dates with men of youth, looks, and money. All she said was “You’re kind of funny.”

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