The large man felt out of place in this airport terminal. Born of the desert and raised there,
the multicolored plastic seats that never seemed to fit, the screaming children and constant public announcements, were foreign to him.
None of this registered at the moment, however, as the pretty girl with soft red hair gazed into
his large brown eyes.
"You'll be fine, Jim. I promise." She seemed to plead as he labored to hold back his tears.
Only this morning she had decided that her future, and her son's, would lie with another man,
one who had been a friend for years. Jim, big and gentle, strong and sensitive, would have
to go home to the mesquite and rattlesnakes, for he could not live here. Every day would be
torture, with her so near, untouchable.
Oh, to run his fingers across her cheeks one more time, and through her soft full hair.
He wanted to embrace her, to wrap his arms around her and never let go, having given her his
heart, he didn't want it back.
She leaned forward to kiss him, but he shook his head, a lone tear arcing across to his broad
shoulder. He wanted to say something, do something to change her mind, wanted her to beg
him to stay, but he could only manage a choked "bye" that turned into a half-sob.
The carpet was worn and stained, his eyes locked on the muddy pattern as he made his way
to the plane without looking back. The tears would flow soon, and he needed to hide.
The girl wiped her eyes, crying silently at the Bunyonesque man, broken, walking slowly
away. She sniffed and made her way to the waiting area with a commanding view of the entire
airport, just in time to see his plane taxi to the runway.
It was a pretty airplane, she decided, fitting for such a sweet man. She sat in the cleanest chair
she could find and pulled her son close.
"Jim go bye?" the three year old asked, sadness in his eyes.
"Yes, Sweetie, Jim go bye."
Wedged into a window seat, he could make out the figures in the tall windows of the concrete
terminal building, wondering if she was there, yes, that looks like her boy's coat. He faced
forward with a look of resignation as the acceleration pressed him into the seat.
Twenty seconds later, as the wall of flame rushed toward him from the front of the cabin, his only thought was "Thank you God."
She flinched as the terminal windows shook, but did not break, as the graceful winged creature became
engulfed in fire, sending a shock wave across the tarmac from where it had just lifted
from the runway.