by Voni Harris
They were waiting. Their college son’s plane was en route after repairs, with no official word when it would arrive.
So they waited.
She untied and retied her new pretty orange scarf over her hair. She hadn’t been able to resist browsing the duty-free shop in the waiting area.
She was a patient person. But Henry was not. He’d pulled out his smart phone over an hour ago and was working away, plugged into the wall.
She looked at the people arriving from other flights. Arriving for a family reunion, she imagined, as she saw a large group of people pass hugs amongst themselves like candy.
She rose and walked to the water fountain. A little girl darted in front of her, mother in hot pursuit. Maybe the pair traveled cross-country on a long flight to see Grandma, and the little one was taking advantage of finally being off the airplane.
Imagination was sometimes better than life. Definitely less boring.
Her orange high heels clicked on the floor as she walked back to her place next to her husband.
He hadn’t noticed she was gone. But such was the way of life for a CEO’s wife.
She laid her hand on his. He smiled at her, then returned to some Very Important Email.
She noticed a young man standing at the exit from the secured area with an elaborate bouquet of flowers of rich and varied colors.
He was dressed to impress in all black, complementing his tidy jet-black hair and olive skin. Self-assured, he craned his neck as each new group of arrivals passed.
One elderly man rolled by in a wheelchair. “Those flowers for me?” he boomed.
The young man threw back his head and laughed. “For my fiancée, sir.”
“Good job, son!”
She turned in her seat so she could watch the reunion.
The young man’s wait stretched thirty minutes, yet he kept his place with the patient watchfulness of a sentry.
Once, Henry would have waited for her like that. She traced the grooves of gray tile floor with the orange toe of her shoe.
She’d missed the big moment, for now the man and his fiancée stood at the exit, kissing, the flowers forgotten on the floor. The fiancée grazed the young man’s face with her fingertips. The young man’s sparkling black eyes held her soft brown eyes and would not let go.
Perhaps the girl had been gone for a year…caring for an elderly mother.
She rose and walked toward the couple, as though they stood in a magical circle of love.
But of course there was no magic circle of love in reality.
Turning, she untied her scarf and draped it around her shoulders.
The click of her heels echoed through the waiting area until she stood in front of him. “You don’t bring me flowers.”
He looked at her like she’d sprouted wings. “You want flowers? There’s a florist shop just past the newsstand.” He stood and pulled out his billfold. “Roses?”
She gazed down for a long time down, tracing the gray tile.
She looked up into her husband’s impatient eyes.
“Henry. I like sunflowers,” she whispered.