A Vacation

Contributor: Briauna McKizzie

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Sitting at gate D18, Maggie tried to keep her hands from shaking. She was breathing heavily and beads of sweat had formed at her temples. Suddenly, a woman with the voice of a rusting automaton placed a loudspeaker to her lips.
“We apologize for the inconvenience, but Flight 388 has been delayed due to thunderstorms. However, the forecast promises clear skies soon, and we hope to have you landing at DFW no later than 2:15am. We appreciate your patience. Thank you for choosing Southwest Airlines.”
The individuals waiting at the gate had varied responses. Some people rolled their eyes and voiced their disapproval of the airline’s inability to control the weather. The parents in the group quickly created makeshift beds on the seats around them and encouraged their little ones to rest. Meanwhile, members of Generation Y took the opportunity to take an uninhibited amount of “selfies”.
However, the only person who actually smiled at the turn of events was Maggie. Glancing at her watch, she looked around for a moment before leaving the waiting area and walking down the terminal toward the shopping and dining area.
It was nearing 10 ‘O clock and all was quiet. Janitors were walking slowly from bathroom to bathroom, and small groups of people were waiting at various gates. Only one restaurant was still open. A bar and grill with more than six TVs, each playing a different program.
Standing outside the entrance, Maggie fiddled with her hand before walking inside of the bar. She sat on a red stool next to a man wearing a silver Rolex. He didn’t even look up when the pretty woman sat next to him. He only continued to stare at his iPad that was resting on the counter. The muscles near the left corner of her mouth contracted upward as she looked down at the web page the man was on. His fingers were slowly scrolling down the web page for Rolex. He had just stopped to look at a gold one with a green face, when the bartender with the name “Alex” stitched into his shirt came up to Maggie.
“Would you like something to drink?” He asked her.
Maggie looked up quickly. “Um, I’m not a big drinker. What should I get?”
The bartender shrugged. “Most girls like vodka cranberries.”
“Well, that sounds perfect. Vodka cranberry it is.” Maggie grinned like a child with a treat.
“Okay…” The bartender stared at her raising an eyebrow. “Can I see your ID first?”
His eyebrow remained skeptical, as he examined the Texas driver’s license.
“Thanks.” He said handing back the license.
When he came back with her drink, Maggie had stopped spying on her neighbor and was staring at the TV instead. The Weather Channel showed the billowing storm that kept Flight 388 grounded.
“Here’s your drink.” He handed it to her and their fingers touched for a moment longer than necessary. She looked down and smiled as he finally released the glass.
“Thank you.” She said.
Alex looked around the bar. Most of the occupants were either deep in conversation or gathering their things to leave. He leaned against the counter clearing his throat, which caused Mr. Rolex to glance up, assess the situation, and move to a cluster of lounge chairs deeper within the bar.
“Are you headed home?” Alex asked politely.
“Mhmm. I was here for a business trip. I’m a marketing advisor.” She brought the drink to her lips while keeping an eye on the stranger.
“Do you enjoy that?”
“You know I actually don’t care for cranberries, but I needed the liquor.” She set the glass down, empty.
He smiled, “I meant your job.”
“Well, I’ll put it this way. Do you enjoy your job?” She returned.
He hesitated before answering, “Only on nights like this one.” Before she could make any type of response, he barreled on, “So…Texas, huh?”
“Yeah. Texas.”
“Do you like it there?”
“I like it about as much as I like my job.”
“Why don’t you move, go exploring…follow your dreams?”
“I’m 35 years old.”
“Exactly…” a brief silence ensued. He continued, “Well, it sounds like you need break from your life. Let me get you another drink on the house.”
Three rounds of drinks and several jokes later, a stoic announcement interrupted the short-lived flirtation.
“Attention passengers of flight 388, please come to gate D18 to begin boarding.”
Maggie bit her lip and opened her mouth as if to speak, but the words remained inside her.
“That’s you isn’t it?” He asked.
“Yeah, that’s me.”
“Well, it was nice talking to you.” The word “nice” hung like a vapor over the room.
Maggie stood up, reaching down for her bag. She placed the brown leather strap over her shoulder and her body sagged in response to the weight.
“Goodbye.” She reached down and touched his hand.
Maggie turned and walked away. Reaching the gate, she pulled out her phone as she waited for her group to begin boarding. There were seven notifications for missed messages.
“Shit,” she whispered. Maggie began to type a response to the messages but stopped suddenly to reach back into her pocket. She pulled out a simple gold band and put it on her ring finger. Exhaling, she typed a response.
“Sorry, honey, it’s been crazy and my flight was delayed. Don’t wait up. I’ll see you and the kids in the morning. Love you.”
By the time her section was allowed to board, only the middle seats were open. Tired, Maggie chose the first vacant seat available.
“Hello.” A man’s voice greeted.
Maggie looked up startled. It was Mr. Rolex. She smiled in response, and the wedding ring burned like a brand on her slender finger. Yet, Mr. Rolex didn’t seem to mind the jewelry… he already knew it wouldn’t be an issue.

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Growing up in more than seven states, I have become a woman with a lot of stories in her soul. My goal is to tell authentic stories that will make readers laugh, cry, and think.
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