Aedan opened his eyes yet again, having never really gotten to sleep. This time however, he could see from the gray outside the windows of the airport that the night had passed. It wasn’t exactly sunny outside but it was daylight. The fog was much thicker than when he had decided to spend what was rest of the evening on a bench in the airport but certainly something would be open now. A place to clean up, to eat and to explore while he waited for the next flight to the vacation he had been looking forward to for so long.
The constant sounds from inside the airport had permeated his flesh and blood over the last several hours. He barely noticed it until he stepped out the door and it closed behind him. Even the passing shuttle and the smell of diesel in the heavy moist air failed in comparison. It came and it went. It didn’t take over his very being. Seeing a taxi at the curb, he transferred his suitcase to the other hand and waved to get his attention.
The driver was an older gentleman who similar to the shuttle driver from last night was eager to talk and wore an unending smile. Fortunately for Aedan, there were few pauses where he would actually be expected to respond. Aedan learned there was no hotel close to the airport. There was only one within a fifteen minute drive making his choice quite easy. As they drove, the driver gave him the full tour of the city which, even through the fog seemed quite organized and clean. Perhaps the best part he thought, was that he saw very few people on the streets.
Four hours later, Aedan was up, showered and even shaved his beard off for the first time in years. There was no specific reason for this. He was simply feeling a desire to make some changes in his life and while on vacation seemed like a perfect time to do that. Fortunately, the waitress in the small restaurant across the street from the hotel wasn’t nearly as talkative as everybody else he had run into though she didn’t smile any less. Her smile didn’t change even when he requested a couple changes in his order to make his breakfast vegan.
By the time he stepped out of the restaurant, he was feeling much better even though he hadn’t really slept. The fog had become somewhat comforting and he felt, let him blend in with the surroundings as he explored the city. The city too began feeling more welcoming. Many times had he passed through but now that he was walking the sidewalks and docks he realized he had never actually seen the place even on bright sunny days. Today, barely able to see through the fog twenty feet in front of him, he saw so much more.
He walked the docks admiring the sailboats. He had actually considered chartering and sailing the last leg to his destination but determined it would take too much time. Upon reaching the end of one dock, he headed up the stairs cut into stone and into thicker fog. At the top he found what appeared to be a Cathedral but had no doors. It was decorated with stained glass and archways that towered over him as he walked in. At the center of this great hall was a huge statue of a female figure above her head was raised a sword. He wondered if this was a tribute to a last and fatal stand or a victory.
The solitude and emotion swept over him. Out of nowhere came a memory that a long time friend had passed away a week prior and today would be a Celebration of Life for him. It wasn’t quite two years since his wife had also fell to the tragedies of cancer. Because he had already planned this trip and was unable to reschedule it, he left condolences for the children before he left. Now he stood here alone. It seemed quite appropriate to spend a few moments reflecting this passing of life before continuing his own journey.