It seemed to him more like a mall than an airport, as he sat at the Bacardi bar-- which tried to recreate a lost atmosphere from someone’s idea of Havana in the Forties-- nursing a crimson-coloured beer. He watched, while waiting for a connecting flight to Dallas, as thin flight attendants strutted by in sometimes elegant uniforms and as fat mouths crowded the Burger King. “We fly City Bird,” a blond woman in blue half whispered…
“I wanted this order super sized,” a heavy voice complained…He was thinking of all the hours which he had spent waiting…Waiting for a taxi, waiting on line to check luggage or flight tickets, waiting for the plane to take off, waiting for the plane to land, waiting through customs, and waiting for another taxi only to wait at some hotel…
The beer was getting warm. He longed for a cigarette. It was not Havana in the Forties and so he would have to make his way beyond the air-conditioned avenues of the mallesque Miami airport.
Outside the heat rose as if it were in bloom. The passing cars reflecting slithers from the powerful sun. He glanced at the faraway pastel colors, trying to avoid the immediate, but found no comfort in the bright distance.
He was not the only one smoking. There was, in fact, a good sized group which was scattered along those electric doorways that led in and out of the airport.
Jake chose a spot from which to puff and proceeded to breath fire through a Camel light. He looked at his watch, still contemplating hours spent waiting.
A woman emerged from one of the passing cars. Suddenly, she was all he could see in front of him. Her brown hair partly covering her Romanian Gypsy features. She was dressed in black, carrying a backpack and one wheeled suitcase.
The ash from his Camel fell voluntarily into the lazy humid breeze.
She browsed inside her backpack with her right hand. Jake looked away as she neared.
“Could I trouble you for a light,” the brown haired woman asked. “It would be no trouble at all,” Jake responded.
She gazed into his eyes. His hand betrayed his nervous nature as they slightly trembled while offering the Zippo’s flame. He flexed his biceps sharply and felt in control of his temperament. She had not noticed anything save for his eyes…Jake’s eyes were tired and sad. He was tired of waiting and he was not a happy man. It was difficult for him to find contentment within the confines of any airport. His work kept him passing through numerous airports. Jake was getting used to it but not altogether and the melancholy gaze was there as if a witness to his feelings.
She stood next to him. For a moment, they lounged in silence as the hum of activity caressed the atmosphere around them.
“Where are you going,” Jake questioned as he lighted another cigarette.
“I’m going to Peru. I discovered a real poet there and I cannot wait to meet her.”
This was not what Jake expected to hear. In fact, the words struck him almost with a violent force. He crushed under foot what remained from his second cigarette and exclaimed, “What?”
Indira smiled, again looking into his eyes which now reclaimed a certain vividness, and explained to Jake how enthralled she was by the writings of a young lady she had recently met. She continued, understanding that to Jake it all seemed insane, her explanation and quoted a brief poem entitled Desire from the writer she was on her way to visit:
Wanting to experience your hands touching my arms
Jake waited through the explanation and the poetry. His anger did not wait. “I think you are wasting your time. Poetry. Peru. Come on. You seem like an intelligent woman, why waste your time? There must be a hundred other thing you could do instead.”
“We just met. You must really like me to be so intense about this,” she paused only to add, “or, you must be entirely sick of your own life to be so aggressive about someone else’s.”
Indira leaned in…Jake could feel her breath…The words of the poem came into his mind with the force of lightning on a dark night. Indira kissed Jake fully and forcibly. The taste of tobacco, beer, and coffee mixed at the tip of their tongues.
She pulled away from the kiss, just as Jake was about to embrace her, and said, “Now do you understand the beauty of those lines.”
Jake was nearly speechless. He had, while not listening to Indira’s explanations, concocted an entire argument which now appeared to him to be as useful as a used condom. “I apologize,” he averred. It was then when Indira sauntered away. There was a hint of triumph in her walk.
Jake lit a third cigarette but put it out way before it was finished. Thirst had overwhelmed his desire for nicotine. He ventured back into the airport, as he contemplated his recent encounter. There was still available time before he had to face the check-in line for his connecting flight. The cool air made him temporarily disremember his foolish anger. He thought about those words. He did like her and he was sick of his current situation. How could she so clearly into his heart. He thought about the kiss. So unexpected. Ethereal in a sense…It had disarmed him, it removed his mask, it made him real. Indeed, for a few moments the reality nestled a revolution against all pretense. He sat back down at the Bacardi Bar, wishing he could follow the urge to drop everything and head to Peru in search of truth and poetry with Indira, and ordered another beer. The minutes went by swiftly and the waiting did not seem as torturous as it had earlier. The events surrounding him now seemed nearer…A father fumbling with a tiny digital camera as his wife sighed and daughter grimaced…A group of religious missionaries huddled together in a corner…All the people passing by, few of them looked as if they were waiting for anything.
Jake could feel Texas just around the corner.
Julio Peralta-Paulino is a writer currently at work on a screenplay. His recent translation of Loca poetry is featured at Stylus Poetry Journal. Some of his short stories have appeared in Poor Mojo's Almanac(k), Skive Magazine, and Smokebox. He is a member of Zoetrope Virtual Studios and the Dorothy Parker Society.
Contact Julio: firstname.lastname@example.org