Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1539015-Somewhere-My-Love
Rated: E · Short Story · Romance/Love · #1539015
Maria experiences a love connection deeper than she ever thought possible.
Maria awoke with a soft smile upon her lips, gave a luxurious stretch and snuggled back between the sheets. I dreamed of Jim again.  Dreams of the one man she had truly loved since the moment they had met such a long time ago were not an unusual thing.  Her mind drifted back over the years.

Excited from the whirlwind of new experiences at her first writers’ conference, Maria boarded the plane for her return flight home.  She had stowed her suitcase in the overhead bin and slid into her assigned window seat; tucking her purse and jacket beneath the seat in front of her, she watched the boarding passengers, searching for a familiar face.

Before long a tall, lean man she had noticed in the gate area stopped at the end of the row and tossed his bags into the overhead.  As he removed his suit jacket, he smiled down at her.

“Would you like me to put your things up here?” he asked, nodding toward her jacket and purse.

Returning his smile, she shook her head.  “No, thank you.  I may need them.”

With a shrug, he placed his jacket in the bin and sat down in the aisle seat.  Maria turned her attention toward the window, disturbed by the feelings that spread through her when she’d met his gaze, . 

Outside, the swirling snowflakes that had been falling all morning were coating the runways with an ever-thickening blanket of white. If it gets much worse, will they even be able to get up enough speed to get in the air?  And, oh my God, what about landing?  She couldn’t imagine how they could come to that shuddering, screeching halt without sliding who knew where.

“Is something wrong?” her seatmate inquired, with a concerned expression.

She met his gaze and felt a slight blush rising to her cheeks at the feelings of familiar warmth spreading throughout her body.  “I was just thinking about all of this snow and how they were going to be able to take off and especially land.  Those runways have to be really slippery by now.”

“Don’t worry.  These guys can handle it. They’re used to it. I’ve seen them fly in and out of here in a lot worse than this.”

“So you live around here?”

“I moved here about three months ago, but our home office is back east.”

“You do a lot of flying then?”

He nodded and smiled.  “Oh, yeah, I spend most of my time going somewhere or another.  How about you?  You fly much?”

She shook her head.  “Oh, no, not at all!  I mean this is the first time I’ve flown in years and years.  I wouldn’t even be here, if it hadn’t been for this conference I got the chance to attend.”

“What kind of conference?  By the way, my name’s Jim.  Jim Hansen.”

“I’m Maria Roberts.  I came to a writers’ conference and it was great.  I got to meet all these fascinating people – and even a few best-selling authors.”

“So you write?”

“I try.”  Maria blushed, remembering the encouraging words of her mentor.  “Let me rephrase that, I am a writer!” She gave a firm nod of her head.

He chuckled.  “What do you write?”

She told him about the article that had paid for her trip, ending by saying, “But my first love is fiction.  What do you do?”

Maria was enthralled as he talked about his job and all the places he traveled and time passed quickly.  She glanced at her watch and frowned.  “We were supposed to take off a half-hour ago.”

“They’re de-icing the plane, see?” He nodded toward the window where some workmen could be seen spraying something on the wings of the jet.  “It shouldn’t take long.”

“I hope not.  If we don’t get underway soon, I’ll miss my connecting flight.”

They continued their conversation until the announcement of their impending takeoff was made and the roar of the engines increased in volume.  Maria tightened her seatbelt and settled back into her seat.

When the plane began to level off, Jim turned to Maria with a grin and said something that she didn’t catch over the roar of the engines.  She leaned over the arm of the center seat.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.”

“I just said, ‘See, no problem,’ with taking off I mean.”

“Oh, right.  With your wealth of experience, I’ll trust you from now on.”

The sound of the engines and his voice were so near in tone, Maria still had difficulty understanding what he was saying.  Not too long into the flight, her back was beginning to ache from her awkward position.

“Would you mind moving over to this seat?” she asked with slight embarrassment. 

“Not at all.”  He immediately moved into the center seat and Maria relaxed into a more comfortable position, as their conversation continued.

The plane bumped along in the storm’s turbulence, but Maria hardly noticed the flickering clouds outside her window; she was so engrossed with this fascinating stranger and the odd sensations that were swirling through her.  Suddenly the sound of a loud explosion and accompanying flash of a lightening bolt striking just outside made her jump to the extent allowed by her loosened seatbelt.  Reflexively, she grabbed the nearby knee of her companion and he instinctively reached out for her.

“Are you okay?” he asked, his voice full of concern.

“I . . . I think so.  It’s just that . . . that was so close, every filling in my teeth is tingling!”  With a weak smile, she huddled against his shoulder, shuddering.

Placing his finger under her chin, he raised her face and softly kissed her.  “I don’t know what’s happening to me,” he confessed, his voice sounding hoarse.  “I feel as if I’ve known you all my life and when you touched my leg just now . . . it seemed so familiar . . . somehow.”

She nodded slowly.  “I know what you mean.  I feel like I’ve known you for . . . forever.”

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the pilot’s voice came over the sound system.  “We’ve been directed by the tower to change our course and try to fly around this storm.  We regret any delays this may cause in the time of arrival.”

“Oh, no!” Maria looked at him with widened eyes.  “Now I’ll miss my connection for sure!”

“Don’t worry about it.  They’ll get you on the next flight.”

But Maria did worry.  She knew nothing about any of it.  Where did she go?  How did she go about getting another flight?  She’d just called the travel agent and they’d made all her arrangements.  She had no idea where to even start.  But there was nothing she could do now, so she returned her full attention to the man sitting beside her and they continued to explore their past experiences and most intimate feelings.

When the pilot announced their imminent landing, Maria glanced at her watch.  “It’s so late.  I wonder if they’ll even have another flight. The airport back home is so tiny it may already be closed down for the night.”

Jim shrugged.  “If they don’t, the airline will put you up in a hotel, since they’re the reason you missed your original flight.”  He smiled.  “We could go have dinner somewhere and have the rest of the evening together.  Would that be so bad?”

She could feel the sparkle the thought of spending more time with this fascinating man brought to her eyes.  “Not bad at all,” she said softly.  “But my family would be worried.”

“You can call them from the airport, once we find out what's going on.”

They deplaned into an almost-deserted airport and Maria turned to Jim.  “Thank you for everything.”

“Look, I’m not going to just run off and leave you here alone.  I’ll stay with you until your flight comes in.”

Maria breathed a silent sigh of extreme relief.  “Oh, thank you so much.  That would mean a great deal to me.”

He shrugged.  “No big deal.  This is my final destination.  All I have waiting is an empty hotel room.  I’d much rather spend the time with you.”

She looked up at him, her eyes misty, her voice choked by emotion, and simply nodded.

“Now,” he slipped an arm around her shoulders, “let’s see about getting you on another flight.”

A short time later, her flight secured and the call home completed, he smiled gently.  “Okay, that’s done.  Since you have some time why don’t we get a cup of coffee?  There’s a coffee shop just around the corner.”

As they sat side-by-side sipping black coffee, the mood in the booth turned somber. In just a little while, Maria thought, he’ll walk out of my life forever – just as he so suddenly appeared. I don’t want to let that happen, but what can I do?  Everyone back home would think I was completely crazy!  A common pickup, the gossipmongers would call it! They’d never understand the feeling of a deep ageless bond she’d had from the start.  She sneaked a sidewise glance at Jim and saw him watching her, the same deep sadness in his eyes that she felt in her own.

“Can I call you?” he murmured.

Slowly she shook her head.  “I don’t think that’d be such a good idea.”

“But I can’t just let you walk out of my life now that I’ve finally found you.  I feel as if I’d been waiting for you all my life.”

“I feel the same way; but no one would understand . . .”

He heaved a deep sigh.  “Okay,” he said hesitantly, fishing a pen and a business card out of his jacket pocket and beginning to write on the back.  “This is the number of the hotel where I’ll be tonight and tomorrow.”  He handed her the card.  “If you change your mind, call me, okay?”

She took the card, glanced at the number and with a nod, slipped it into her purse.  “But I can’t promise anything.”

“I know.”  He again sighed deeply.  “I guess we’d better head for your gate.”

A prevailing mood of sadness hung over the couple as they walked slowly to the gate and took seats well away from the dozen other waiting passengers.

When the flight was called, they both stood and gazed deep into each other’s eyes.  Suddenly, they were locked in a desperate embrace and shared a kiss more passionate than Maria ever thought possible.  The curious stares of the other passengers did nothing to quench the fire of love that engulfed them.  When the last person had disappeared down the passageway, they shared a hasty kiss and Maria hurried after them.  At the doorway, she turned and saw an expression of all-consuming sadness in Jim’s eyes that she knew mirrored her own.

During the flight home, she tried to reason with her aching heart.  Those strange feelings of an age-old love existing between her and Jim had to have been just her imagination. It was just because she had been so excited from the conference that she was vulnerable.  By morning, it would all seem like a dream – a delightful dream, but a dream nonetheless.

Her mind made up, Maria met her family at the airport and tried to act like her normal self as they chatted about their various activities on the drive home.  The strain took its toll.  When she finally went to bed, she soon fell into an exhausted sleep.

A couple of hours later she started awake with the vision of Jim’s smiling face floating above her.  She blinked her eyes, but the image remained. What is going on?  Why am I being haunted like this?  She flopped over and tried to force the image from her mind.  It simply wouldn’t go away.

Finally she gave up, slipped out of bed and padded to the kitchen where she poured a glass of wine.  Taking the glass to the living room, she sat in the dark and tried to piece together the puzzle of the strange encounter.

All her life Maria had dreamed of being a writer.  After collecting a stack of rejection notices for her early writing efforts, she had become a “closet writer” indulging her passion only in the privacy of her bedroom.  Only a few months before that fateful day, she had crept out of the closet and signed up for a course on how to write saleable material.  Her teacher, turned mentor, had been very encouraging of her efforts and eventually she gained enough confidence to again begin submitting to publications.

Over the months a deep bond of friendship developed between Maria and her Instructor.  When she learned of a writers’ conference that the teacher would attend, her greatest desire was to attend that conference and meet her mentor face-to-face.  But, the trip would be expensive and there was no money to spare.  A week before the registration deadline, Maria sold her first article and received a check that would cover all of her expenses with some to spare.

That was about three months ago.  What had Jim said?  Didn’t he say that he’d moved to his new location three months ago?  About the same time she’d sold that article!  And how about them both being on the same flight – and even seated in the same row with no one in between?  How could that all be mere coincidence?  It seems almost as if some higher power were pulling the strings to make all of it happen.

If that were the case, who was she to throw a monkey wrench into their plans.  Maybe she really should follow through to find out what the plan really was.

With a resolute nod, she removed the card from her purse, picked up the phone and dialed.

“James Hansen, please,” she told the hotel operator.  When his deep sleep-filled voice answered, she said, “Jim, it’s Maria.  I’ve changed my mind . . .”

The relationship had developed from there into one more loving and closer than Maria had ever thought possible.  She and Jim had been together for twelve years before the pressures of jobs, family and society pulled them apart.

Maria smiled and snuggled deeper into her pillows.  That had been nearly twenty years ago, but she knew that on some very deep level they were still connected.  The recurrent dreams were a constant reminder of that.  Somewhere, sometime, they would again find each other and love again.

“Somewhere, my love, we will be reconnected,” she murmured as she drifted back into sleep.

Word Count:  2443
© Copyright 2009 Jaye P. Marshall (jayepmarshall at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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