Compared to the preparation to depart on this vacation, the drive to the airport was uneventful. Atypical for him, Aedan surpassed the speed limit several times knowing he was pushing it but it was all for naught when both lanes came to a crawl to gawk at an accident going the opposite direction. A deep breath and a bit more volume on the radio seemed to pacify his angst. After all, there really was nothing he could do. He tried to not think about the ‘what ifs’ should he not make it to the airport in time. Hopefully the line through security would be short.
Shortly before arriving at the airport the radio had become more annoying than soothing. The commercials ran on and on until he searched for another station playing anything that interested him at all. As they too became filled with mindless voices telling him to buy this or that he pressed the power button and filled the car with silence…as much silence as was possible anyway. In this silence he made his way through the dark. The bluish LED headlamps peeled away the darkness to reveal a soft haze beneath the pine trees that lined either side of the road.
As he got closer to the airport the haze had grown to a light fog and slithered across the road, eagerly swallowing him as he followed the path into it. Aedan thought to himself that this might be a good thing, if there were any a delay in the departure of his flight for any reason whatsoever. When he pulled into the long term parking lot he found an open spot close to the shuttle stop. He had no sooner pulled the suitcase from the passenger seat and locked the doors when the shuttle pulled up. A minute later he was on the shuttle and headed for the terminal. Things were looking up.
The shuttle driver was a friendly guy and seemed to enjoy talking. In the five minutes it took to get to the terminal, Aedan was certain that the driver spent more time looking up into the mirror at him than at the road. He had probably driven the route thousands of times and might be able to do it blindfolded. His voice soon became a drone in Aedan’s head. It went on and on and was only relieved with the shuttle pulled up to the curb and with a huge smile, turned his head and looked at Aedan “We’re here. Enjoy your trip”. Aedan quickly grabbed his suitcase and jumped off the bus.
Inside the terminal, there was a buzz of conversation. Arriving and departing passengers exchanged greetings and goodbyes with loved ones and friends. The loud speaker rattled off flight information and who knows what else. He wasn’t listening but looking for the information board to check on his flight status as he made his way to security to be screened. When he finally found his flight information, a wave of regret passed through him. His flight had already departed. He couldn’t have missed it by much. It was probably still on the runway waiting to depart but it would do it without him.
With his suitcase now feeling much heavier, Aedan stepped out of the screening line and headed back to the ticketing agents to find out when the next flight was and whether there was space available. As he stood in line wondering what his future plans were, the constant noise of conversation, ringing bells and announcements over the loud speaker filled his head. The words were barely intelligible in the droning sound. He looked at a couple near him and just as he pulled their voices from the buzz, they both looked at him and smiled. Not trying to be nosy he looked away immediately but this repeated several times. It had been a long day.
After what seemed an eternity, he made it to the ticketing agent. The next flight to his destination, twelve hours from then was full. There wouldn’t be another for two days but there was a seat available. He asked about alternate routes but there was only one daily flight to his destination. The isolation is why he chose the destination he did and now he would have to wait.
By now the fog had become quite thick outside and he was tired. He was too tired to go looking for a hotel at this hour so he found an empty row of seats in a corner, pushed his suitcase beneath it and made himself comfortable.