Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
TSA airport security in O’Hare is making me cry. I receive glares, short-tempered orders, eye rolls, and blank stares. After twenty hours of travel, I have tears in my eyes during my pat-down. I realize that no one I’ve dealt with at security has seen me as a human being, including the woman with her hand inside the waistband of my pants.
At my gate, a huge, strong man from Chicago asks if I’m okay. I try to keep the details to a minimum so I can aim to let it go, and he shakes his head. “How could they be mean to you? If I were there, I would have told them to leave you alone.”
“Then you may not have made it through,” I smile and sniffle.
“My flight’s delayed, girl. I’ve got time.”
His name is Antoine. He works with concrete on overpasses in Fort Worth. He’s come to town to see family and look after his mother. We talk about heat tolerance, Peyton Manning, and going to the gym. He works ten hour days and comes home exhausted, but he said he still has to lift weights so he can have more energy. Strong work ethic is one of my favorite human qualities–right up there with compassion.
Then in line for my flight, I am greeted with a huge, warm smile from a young man who just joined the US National Guard, just as his father and grandfather had. Cody is kind, quick-witted, and happy. We become fast friends and fill the jetway with our laughter.
Cody and Antoine are the best of America. They welcome me home. They step in to help me smile through the frustrations of the last leg. As I sit in the plane, I realize how similar these encounters are with the Hungarian checkout clerk and apple-giver. So while one may always encounter the day-spoilers, here’s to the day-savers.