waiting in billund by juleshg

25 Apr

“Hi, mom, I don’t think I’ll be able to get home for a few days. Can you send me some money?”

He watched her across the lounge as she listened to the voice on the other side of the line.  She uttered a few uh-huh’s and yes mom’s before hanging up and dropped her forehead against the brick wall dramatically miming exhaustion.  Earlier in the day he had noticed that her big green eyes were looking a little tired but he knew that frustration was the more likely culprit behind her display.

Slowly Abby lifted her head from the wall and turned to him with a bright smile on her face.  As she walked back and sat on the seat across from him he found it hard to believe that it had been only thirty-six hours since they first met.  Sure everyone else in the airport – hell everyone else in the world – was cursing the ash from a distant volcano, but he was praying for more time stranded with this girl.

She flopped down in the chair in front of him.  “So…. my mom is freaking out.  She actually talked about having my grandma come back and get me until the flight advisory is lifted.”

Kyle’s stomach tightened with anxiety but he tried not to let it show on his face.  “What did you say?”

“I told her it was ridiculous.  It is a three-hour drive each way from their town to the airport.  There is no way that she should be away from grandpa for another six hours.”  He noticed the sadness in her eyes as she mentioned her ailing grandfather and he got up and shifted across the aisle to sit in the seat beside her.  He hesitated for a moment before putting his arm around her but she settled against him immediately and lay her head down on his shoulder.  Quietly he took a breath and smelt a faint trace of mint in her shampoo.  He fought the urge to kiss the top of her head knowing it was way too soon but at the same time he was painfully aware that his time with her was drawing to a close.

Feeling her sigh he closed his arm around her a little tighter.  “You ok?”

“Yeah.  I was just realizing that I will never see him again.  He is old and the doctors say he only has a few months left.  This trip was an amazing chance to see Denmark but it was really about saying goodbye.”

“I am sure it made him happy to see you,” Kyle said quietly.  “I am sure that these last two weeks were as important to him as they were to you.”  Last night she had told him about the dozens of hours she had spent sitting on the end of her grandfather’s bed looking at photos as he regaled her with tales of his youth and his time in the army.

“I know it sounds funny – because I just met you – but I wish you could meet him,” she said as she sat up and turned to face him.  “I think you would really like him.”

“I’m sure I would.”

In fact, the idea did not seem funny to Kyle at all.  He would love to meet anyone who was so important to the girl beside him.  He would love to rent an old car and travel the countryside with her to visit the home where her mother had grown up, to walk in on her arm and to enjoy a meal with her family.

When Kyle arrived at the airport yesterday morning nothing seemed more important to him than getting back to his classes in Toronto but this girl had caused his priorities to shift.  He had noticed her immediately.  She was sitting cross-legged on the blue vinyl bench with her nose deep in a book.  She had curly blond hair that was pulled up into a sloppy pony-tail and she was twirling one stray lock absently around her finger.  After a brief argument with the frazzled attendant at the ticket counter he had flopped down on the bench across from her.

She looked up at him and smiled.  “No one is going anywhere today.  I kinda feel bad for her; you are the first person in an hour that did not yell at her.”

He pointed at the Canadian flag sewn on her tattered backpack.  “Are you going to Toronto as well?”

“Yeah.  My mom made me put that on my bag.  She said that people would be nicer to me if they knew I was Canadian.  You are the first person that it has worked on.”

They talked on-and-off all night as flight after flight was cancelled.  They watched travelers come and go and for a while they had placed bets on which ones would lose their temper and which ones would politely take a seat in the waiting area.  They took turns napping on the vinyl bench while the other kept an eye on the luggage.  Their “first date” had been a picnic of stale sandwiches and lukewarm coffee on the floor of the departures lounge.

In thirty-six short hours he discovered that Abigail Nichols was a promising photographer who was starting design school in the fall.  She was a free-spirit who loved adventure and chaos much to the chagrin of her straight-laced mother.  She loved coffee and chocolate and her nose crinkled when she laughed.   In short, he discovered that he loved her.

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3 Responses to “waiting in billund by juleshg”

  1. jmforceton April 26, 2010 at 3:41 am #

    They watched travelers come and go and for a while they had placed bets on which ones would lose their temper and which ones would politely take a seat in the waiting area.

    Always an interesting game; which will and why.

  2. ingridfnl April 26, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    I like the romance and immediate connection… It’s a beautiful and rare thing. I wonder if anyone found each other through exactly this circumstance in the past couple of weeks. 🙂 Sweet.

  3. juleshg April 26, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    I guess I was feeling particularly sentimental and romantic because of my own anniversary. Now that you mention it I would guess there are a few couples out there who met sitting in an airport lounge this week. What a great story to tell your grandchildren; much better than saying: “we met in a bar.” 😉

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