Terminally Ill

In “Anecotal Tales”, stories will be told.  Some will be fun, some will not.  Some will be great, some will be less so.  Some stories are true, some are merely possible.  This is one of them.

Terminally Ill

Lucas turned the radio up three or four levels and tried to wipe the sleep from his eyes.  He knew that he should not be this tired at nine thirty at night.  However that was just the way it was and his driving was not even half over.

He stared down the seemingly endless row of taillights in front of him.  Counting down the exit numbers on the interstate, he was relieved that he was almost there.  Happy to be free of four lanes of red glowing embers and congestion, Lucas took his car off the main road and onto the airport off-ramp.  From there it was a simple matter of decreasing his speed while finding the right lane.  He often wondered what would happen if he took his car to a rental place.  Would they even attempt to “reclaim” his car, or would they know right away?  Did they have closer bathrooms, or perhaps nicer pavement?  Too tired to investigate into his silly quandary, Lucas followed the signs to the hourly parking.  He followed the arrows painted in white, weaving through the curving maze of one-way directional guides.  He parked his car in the first non-handicapped spot he could find, and wrote down the designation number on his hand.  Then he looked around for stairs, an elevator, or something that would offer him an exit.

Seeing the skywalk up ahead, a glow of luminescent light calling to him, he made his way forward.  Briefly scurrying to avoid being hit by a taxi cab, Lucas found his way to the opposite curb.  His feet were soon met by a carpet walkway and overhead speakers.  As the overhead speakers reminded him to make sure his car was locked and to keep his firearms at home, Lucas pulled out a scrap of paper.  On it was written the name of an airline and the scheduled time of arrival.  He found the list of arriving flights and tried to find the one flight out of the array of dozens that mattered to him.  Lucas assumed the other people on the other planes from the other airlines were perfectly respectable people.  However he was only here to pick up one friend.  And knowing her like he did, he was quite sure her luggage would fill his trunk all by itself.

Just as Lucas found a time that looked right and was checking the gate assignment, a piercing squeal echoed throughout the terminal.  Startled, he dropped the scrap of paper and looked around him for the sound of distress.  Instead, he witnessed a young blonde kissing her muscular boyfriend excitedly and passionately.  In between kisses she muttered out quick phrases like, “yes, of course” and something that sounded like “marry you”.  It was hard for him to make out coherent phrases between the kissing, squealing, and overdone displays of affection.  Lucas shook his head, turning away from the display of hormones and too-tight clothing.  He retrieved the paper from the floor, and went back to his task.

The board informed Lucas of that gate.  Also, that the flight was delayed.  Lucas sighed with resignation, not at all surprised that he was going to be even longer getting back to his bed.  He cared for his friend, as evidenced by his driving out here and picking her up.  But he was fond of sleep too.  He had plans for tonight.  His plans included being entirely unconscious, not trolling all-night newspaper stands for brainless reading material.  He wondered why the luggage could not be teleported in advance.  This was the new millennium after all.  Surely someone somewhere had perfected an inorganic-matter teleportation system.  Why not send the luggage in advance so he could pick it up and meet her with all these bags in hand?  It would be quite a time-saver.  Lucas then realized that there would probably be some sort of ID required.  A boarding pass would be asked for, which he wouldn’t have.  Plus, knowing his friend, the bags were probably not labeled well. And he didn’t know how many bags she packed.  Lucas shrugged his shoulders, giving up on his grand concept of efficiency.  He still wanted a teleporter to get those darned bags to his car trunk.

Lucas found the hallway Jill was to come through and he plopped down in the nearest seat.  Terrorism had taken much of the fun out of airports.  Clearly the proposal concept was alive and well, but how much better would it have been had he been able to meet her as she walked off the plane?  Waiting to greet your cherished friend through one line was nice.  Having to pick them out from an unending sea of commuters and travelers was like playing visual whack-a-mole; each face had to be looked at, registered, then mentally cast aside until all obstacles were cleared.  Lucas’ goal was still half an hour away, so he pulled out his phone and started playing solitaire.  He was tempted to take a nap, but if he missed her, Jill would be more than a bit displeased.  No, the solution for Lucas was to prop himself up and wait restlessly.

Three failed games later Lucas figured enough time had passed.  He was tired of the cards he needed being elusive.  All he wanted was to stack to columns of cards and make one pretty pile.  Was that so wrong?  He closed his phone, stood up, and stretched.  He heard a voice come over the intercom announcing that his night was about to start winding down.  Lucas cracked his neck and leaned against the closest unused standee.  He would have felt awkward about blocking the ad, but he highly doubted that anyone was going to apply for a credit card at eleven at night.

Several minutes passed and it seemed as though a plane had emptied.  The pilot and flight attendants were walking somewhat leisurely, and the passengers with strollers were trying to get their babies home to real cribs with fresh supplies of diapers.  Then there was Jill.  She was walking slowly, wearily; as if each step was labored.

Lucas walked up to a Jill as she meekly approached him.  He went to hug her and found himself supporting more of her weight than usual.

“I’m so glad you’re here”, she said weakly.  The two friends broke the embrace but Lucas still found himself helping her to stand.  The words were pathetic and mumbling, but Lucas was rather sure he could understand “sick” and “puke”.  That was enough to fill enough all the details he really needed to hear.  Lucas was of the opinion that less is more when describing the havoc one’s body is ravaging against them.  They made their way to the baggage claim when it became quite clear that Jill was going to need a little break.  Lucas alleviated her of her backpack, but walking was still a visible ordeal for her.  She made her way to the closest bathroom and Lucas stood outside waiting to see in what shape she would return.

When Jill came through the swinging door, she seemed no less relieved.  The only phrase she had the strength to utter was, “I threw up”.  Lucas squeezed her around the arm and they went to retrieve her luggage.  There were not as many bags as his imagination had let him to believe.  Lucas was able to hold the luggage with three-fourths of his body while his right side did his best to help Jill walk.  The walk to his car was conveniently short and he placed Jill into the passenger seat as soon as he could get it unlocked.  Lucas fumbled to help Jill in the door, keep his keys in his hands, and not have the mass of luggage dislocate a muscle.  Painstakingly she found her way onto her seat and curled up into the fetal position.  As Lucas put the bags in the trunk, Jill set about the massive task of trying to get her seatbelt to work.  She eventually succeeded in fastening it just as Lucas was clicking himself in.  Just before Lucas turned the engine on, he thought to himself how cute she looked, all curled up and her eyes closed.  She seemed to doze off immediately.  He actually thought she seemed quite angelic; provided she did not decide to throw up all over him and his car.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

One Response to Terminally Ill

  1. Pingback: Intermission- Postaday vs. NaNoWriMo « Anecdotal Tales

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