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A Romp Through the Airport

September 3, 2022

Will tried to breathe through his nose like his high school cross country coach had taught him, but running a 3.1 mile race wasn’t anything like sprinting through an airport. He gasped while dodging luggage carts and wayward children. Every few seconds he’d get a glance of brown fur disappearing through crowded legs in the distance. And there were always the shrieks of surprise leading Will toward his wayward pup.

Will had been at the ticketing counter getting ready to load Sundance into his crate when he’d slipped his collar and bolted. A quick sigh escaped before Will bolted after him, bags in tow. This was not a good start to his next chapter. Will had decided that a change of scenery would be the best thing to resolve the situation with his brother. Distance solved everything right? But first he had to catch his dog.

Sundance had been headed toward the food court in the terminal, likely drawn there by the smell of food. Will hadn’t fed him breakfast, as recommended by the airline, so he wasn’t surprised when he found Sundance in a nice sit position trying to beg a cinnamon roll off a lovely brown-haired woman. At least the dog had good taste in women, and pastries. The cinnamon and butter smelled like heaven. Will had forgotten breakfast in his haste to get to the airport.

“Does this handsome thing belong to you?” the woman asked when Will approached and put Sundance’s collar back around his neck. Will tightened it a bit just in case.

“Yeah, he definitely has good taste in pastries.” Will paused to assess her interest in a quick conversation and found her looking up at him expectantly. “I’m Will and this is Sundance.”

“Claire.” She scratched Sundance’s head where he’d nuzzled into her lap.

“I’m so sorry about him. Breakfast is his favorite meal of the day and he didn’t get any this morning.” Will tried to pull Sundance back from Claire’s lap, but he wouldn’t budge.

“No worries. He’s a cutie.”

“Mind if I sit down and catch my breath for a minute. That was quite a romp through the airport.” A gesture to the empty seat across from Claire and her assenting nod had Will slumping into the seat. It’d been a good ten years since cross country and he was out of shape.

“Did you really just say romp?” Claire asked with a grin, still petting Sundance’s head.

“What’s wrong with romp? Everyone loves a good romp.” Will dropped his eyes in embarrassment. He hadn’t meant for it to sound dirty. “Well I guess it’s not good when it’s chasing your dog through a crowded airport, right Sundance?” he quickly hurried on. Sundance didn’t even look his way. The dog’s eyes were closed and his tongue lolled a bit out of the corner of his mouth as Claire scratched behind his ears.

“Where are you headed Claire?” Will asked, hoping to make some easy conversation before having to figure out what to do now that he’d missed his flight. Claire was beautiful with long brown hair and big expressive hazel eyes.

“What makes you think I’m headed somewhere?” She grinned at Will. It was a game, and he found he wanted to play.

“Well, generally people who have arrived don’t want to spend an extra minute in the airport if they don’t have to. And you’ve obviously taken it upon yourself to spend the time eating the most delicious pastry known to man.”

Claire considered him. “Fair, but I’m not most people.”

“So have you arrived or have you yet to depart then Claire?”

“I’m undecided to be honest. But Sundance here makes a good argument for staying right where I am for now.” Claire giggled. Sundance was licking Claire’s fingers while curled up against her shins and sitting on her toes.

“Seriously Sundance, I can’t take you anywhere.”

“Well it seems more like he’s taking you places. And I think he made a good decision about your destination today.”

“Yeah? And why is that?” Will didn’t mean to sound flirty, but that’s where the conversation was going.

“Well, Will with no last name, if Sundance didn’t run away from you to find the best pastry known to man, then you would be on a flight to somewhere far away from here, and you wouldn’t be happy about it.” Will cocked his head and she went on. “I can see it in your eyes, you’re relieved, and a little terrified, that you’ve missed your flight. Whatever you’re running from, I’m guessing it’s not just going to disappear because you’re in a different location.”

There was silence at the table as Will registered the truth of Claire’s words.

When Will finally met Claire’s eyes, she said, “You may as well grab a cinnamon roll and join me. I’ll watch Sundance for you. Then we can figure out if you’re headed somewhere or you’ve arrived.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Yael Kisel permalink
    October 17, 2022 6:51 pm

    clever last line!!

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