(This paragraph was recently published in the October 2021 Florida Writer Magazine. The prompt was an airport setting.)
Flowers lined the roads to the airport. Overhead signs with arrows attempted to direct motorists to arrival or departure ramps. Inside the airport, a sparkling glass atrium housed the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Passengers hustled around large planters filled with Bromeliads then waited in line for a security check.
Lynette filled two plastic bins with her stuff. When called she stood, her feet shoulder-width apart, with her hands held above her head as the metal detector circled. After gathering her belongings, she found a seat to put on her shoes and notice a man watching her.
He wore a blue plaid shirt and attempted to return his foot to an athletic shoe without undoing the laces. She ignored his smile and walked to the tramway.
The doors opened.
She got on and waited for the doors to close.
They did, but not before the man in the blue plaid shirt slipped inside.
The train jerked. Lynette clung to a metal pole and dug her heels into the floor for the ride.
When the doors opened, people scurried into the Southwest terminal as though late for their flight. She lingered. So did the man in the plaid shirt.
At Hudson’s News Stand, she window shopped, then went inside to peruse the magazine section. And the man did too.
She confirmed her departure gate on a screen. So did he.
She used the lady’s room. A camera flash drew her attention as she exited and she looked up to see a young family, all wearing Mickey Mouse Ears posing for a picture under a welcome to Orlando sign. She smiled.
Lynette was early for her flight to Atlanta, where she had a short layover before her destination flight to New York City and plenty of time to stand in line at Starbucks. So, she did.
The man in the blue plaid shirt stepped in line behind her.
“Do I know you?” she asked him.
“You look like my wife,” he replied.
Lynette didn’t know how to respond but said, “I get that a lot.” Then stepped to the counter and placed her order.
She was stirring cream into her coffee when the man joined her at the desk. His cell rang.
“I found your mother,” he said. “Well, she’s not dead . . . I don’t care if I miss the flight. I’m not leaving your mother.”
He handed the cell to Lynette.
“Mom?” said the voice of a young woman.
“I’m not your mother,” said Lynette.
“Well, you certainly look like my mother.”
“You can see through the phone?”
“No. Dad sent me a picture of you by the restrooms. We thought you were dead.”
“I’m not your dead mother.”
“But you look like my mother.”
“Just because I look like your mother doesn’t make me your mother.”
“Really? Caffe Americano with room for cream and the chocolate-dipped Madeleines.”
Lynette peered at the cookie packaged she’s stashed in her tote. Her patience was wearing thin.
“Do me a favor . . . please, Mom.”
“Don’t call me Mom.”
“Accompany Dad to his gate. Pretend you’re his wife, my mother.”
“What’s his name?
Lynette repositioned her tote bag on her shoulder, grabbed her cup of coffee, and said, “Okay, Arthur. Where are you going?”
They waited at a recharging station near gate 25.
Lynette drank her coffee, occasionally taking a bite of the chocolate-dipped Madeleine cookie.
“Lynette, it’s time to board,” Arthur said when the final call for Flight 1214 to Atlantic was announced.
“How do you know my name?” she asked.
“You’re my wife, Lynette,” said Arthur.
* * * just saying
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Second Thoughts is a previous post you might enjoy.
That was eerie, and bizarre to say the least. Very well written, I might add. I was in the story waiting for something to happen. What a twist!
As with all your ” just saying”, I liked it very much.
Pat, Thank you for your words of encouragement.
Who was lost in unreality, Arthur or Lynette? Great story!
Thank you. I’m hoping the reader has to decide. Claudia
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That is An amazing story! Could it happen, I believe it could. Over the years, I have seen a person or persons that have resembled my mother! Took my breath away! Are there connections to ourselves walking around out there, I do believe so! Only at a terminal in a busy airport where you might pass yourself in the hustle to your terminal! Take time to look up and see the faces that may pass by and remember that someone special!! “SHE” looked like my mom too!!
Marshal, Thank you and the story did give you something to think about. Claudia
This gave me chills! I once had a patient in the psych ward of a big hospital in London think I was her mother. I was only 25 at the time. I just smiled and nodded and move away. I was a volunteer with toiletries, drinks and candy on a trolley and I made the rounds. The psych ward was always the one that could produce a bit of drama.
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