**** Previous Installment of Vivid Black – Crossroads and Porch Swings
As he approached, the revolving door welcomed him with its whop, whoosh, whop whoosh and spun him into the airport. He hoisted his canvas drab backpack higher on his shoulder, listing to the right with the weight of his carry-on duffle. Ray lurched to the Frontier ticket counter and checked into his flight.
His flight wouldn’t leave for hours and while a cold beer was appealing he didn’t want to dull or diminish his thoughts; he needed his edge. So he drifted along the wide hall scattered with travelers encumbered in varying stages of luggage, children and technology. He recognized frustration, panic, exhaustion, and glee in their faces and demeanor. As he wandered, the earthy, rich smell of coffee drifted over the mixed emotions that washed the corridor. It drew Ray in where he found the savory smell of grilled burgers. He sat at the counter and ordered a burger and black coffee.
When the order arrived, he moved to the red vinyl booth in the corner recently occupied by newlyweds still unfamiliar with the routines and behaviors of those jaded and comfortable in marriage. Watching, observing was unavoidable, the consequence of years as a cop. He saw the shabby, unkempt guy whose sallow, scabbed face and dull eyes betrayed his addiction. Ray wondered who was paying for his ticket and hoped he wouldn’t be on his flight.
When he finished his burger he collected his bags and worked his way back to the counter where he ordered and paid for another coffee, then wound his way out and headed toward the gate. He looked over the waiting area, found an empty chair in a long occupied row and crumpled into its small rigid form. Ray exhaled and breathed out the stress of airport ticket counters and invasive security which was enough, but his journey had the burden of telling his wife about Sarah Jane.
He thought, I wish this was over. Leta. Leta. Leta. Gotta get to her first. Leta was at a Monastery in San Antonio participating in a deep contemplative retreat to finishing her training as a Spiritual Director. She was isolated and completely removed from the outside world. When Ray spoke to Brother John Mary, he was assured Leta knew nothing. The dread bore a deep hole inside of him as he played every possible outcome over and over in his head.
The muscle in his jaw did a tattoo rhythm to match the twitch in his foot that bounced his knee. His eyes scanned the walls and pillars looking for a clock that would tell him his task was at hand, his mission near an end, but he knew it was just beginning.
This installment of Vivid Black is inspired by the writing prompt at Write on Edge.
This week we’d like you to write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece set entirely in an airport. Take us on an adventure in 450 words or less.