July 17, 2009

Airplane

Authors notes: Kind of choppy-I need to come back and polish this.
Johnny looked out the window and watched nothing in particular. In the background he could hear the flight crew run through their safety checklist. He looked away from the window and towards the front of the plane and made a point to identify where the emergency exits were. It wasn't like he expected there to be a reason for him to exit in anything but the normal way, but you never know what can happen.

The captain instructed the crew to prepare for takeoff and he resumed his watch out the window. The past few days were a blur and he was trying to take it all in. A few days before he had been sitting in his office marveling over an empty travel schedule. The early part of the year had consisted of airports, hotels and meetings and he was ready to spend some real time at home.

It was going to be nice to become reacquainted with his bed and his stuff. For a short time the business world would survive without him, besides if they needed him they had his cell phone and email address. And there wasn't any doubt that they would use all of them to contact him.

When he was on the road he was responsible for entertaining clients. A healthy expense account helped to make that happen. Out on the road he ate at the finest restaurants and lived a lifestyle that he couldn't afford on his own. It was nice, but it grew old quickly. One hotel looked pretty much like another. It didn't matter how they decorated the room, there was a sterile uniformity to it.

Needless to say Johnny wasn't thrilled when the call to head out again came in. He had barely unpacked from the last trip, but this time was different. As it happened June was going to be there at the same time. It was a happy coincidence, what is that word they use, serendipitous.

So he booked a flight and threw his gear into a bag and headed off to the airport. Upon landing he turned on his BlackBerry and listened to the angry buzzing noise it made. The way it kept beeping you would have thought that it had been turned off for a week and not five hours.

One hour later he had picked up his rental car and checked into his hotel room. He had thirty minutes to shower, change and head out to his meeting. In the midst of it all he realized that he had forgotten his razor. With a silent curse he called downstairs and asked them to send a blade and some shaving cream up.

While he waited the phone began buzzing again. June was checking in with him. She was a planner and wanted to figure out when they'd have time to see each other. Johnny could hear the smile in her voice and it made him smile back. He told her that he had an afternoon flight but that he was sure that they could find some time to catch up.

And here he was a relatively short time later, waiting for the tower to greenlight the captain. Soon enough the hum of the engines turned to a roar and the plane went flying down the runway. The blur outside the window was fitting because that is how the last 18 hours felt to him.

As the plane climbed into the sky he closed his eyes and thought about it all. There had been a last kiss goodbye and a lingering hug. Saying goodbye to June had been far more difficult than she had realized. There was a silence that begged to be filled, but he had been unwilling to fill it.

It wasn't for a lack of desire or an inability to do so. He knew what he wanted to say, but sometimes these things come with a price and Johnny was afraid of what that might be. It wasn't a fear of what would happen to him but of what it would do to June.

She was smart. She was tough and she was brave. She was a million things that he couldn't describe but treasured nonetheless. He feared the price because he wasn't sure what it would do to June and the thought of her hurting made him ache.

So he rolled the dice and hoped that they would find a way to get back to that place. He was a gambler and a dreamer. He would fight for her. He would endure the pain and hope that his decision hadn't been a mistake.

Alone on the plane he smelled his hand and smiled. He could still smell her. His June, his girl, her scent, his hand. It made sense. Anytime they had been through a rough spot he had told her to take his hand and they had promised to work through it all together.

In spite of the hum of the engines he could feel that quiet place they shared and he took refuge in it. The decision had been made. Now he had to live with it. The hardest part was knowing that he had virtually no control over what would happen next.

The next part was up to June. She needed time to work on some things. Time to take care of some stuff and get centered again. For now that was just how it had to be. June would do her thing and Johnny would do his.

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