First Part: A Man Discovers More Than He Hoped For In A Reunion.
|"Enjoy your trip" the girl at the check-in desk said.
"Thank you, I will" he replied.
If only you could feel the butterflies in my stomach, he thought.
Since he had risen early that morning, they had tickled every inch of his insides. Tingling tremors ran up and down his arms and legs, without any consideration for the preparations he undertook for this trip home . But, thankfully, he had managed to shave without nicking his face. He got all his buttons done up correctly, none crossed, and drank the coffee without spilling any. A minor miracle!
Why do I feel this way? he had asked himself, over and over."It's just a trip home, just like all the other times," the mantra kept going, hoping the words spoken aloud could somehow control his nerves.
But the battle had long been lost!
He was meeting someone special this time. He knew he would feel nervous, especially after all these years. He just didn't think it would reduce him to jelly! He had known her for an age. They had always been good friends, always got along really well, and had grown close, without much effort. But he was about to fly to her, this girl, to see her for the first time in so long. And something was different now, something he was hoping was true, but couldn't let himself believe.
Could this be real? What exactly am I feeling? The questions kept coming.
There was certainly a spark there still, unsaid, untold. But he felt it! There always had been. Nothing had become of it in the past, except for it to remain smoldering under the detrius of their separate and varied lives. Wisps of its smoke had drifted up on a few rare occasions, only to dissipate quickly in the infinite air surrounding them, blown away by a myriad of people and places and events. But, as he boarded the plane now, all that infinity had reduced itself to 14.40pm. Then he could walk through the double doors at the other end, and see her again. The butterflies, invigorated, began a fresh round of partying. He drifted to his seat, glad to be able to strap himself into something solid!
He sat quietly in the seat, not usually one for much conversation with fellow passengers anyway. But there was a snowballs chance in hell of him opening up today! He would not trust himself to hold a viable conversation. He'd have talked gibberish probably, his seat-buddy on the short flight undoubtedly regretting having asked 'So you going home for a few days?'. He looked out the window instead, the undulating white carpet of cloud below trapping his mind for a little while. His eyes closed, and he thought of her.
She was the most beautiful girl he had ever met. Tall, slim, long cascading black hair. Her body shaped in a way that made it flow from head to toe. She walked with a confidence that happy people have. And she had this smile. Oh Boy! Those lips were shaped like cupids bow, tantalising, provocative. She was perfect. And she was out of reach. Or so it had seemed. Now, descending through the clouds, all those images made him flush with anticipation. He could almost feel her, and only the jolt of touchdown stopped him from sliding down in his seat, hugging himself!
Get a grip, you're forty something years old! he told himself for the hundredth time.
He disembarked, and found himself passing people at speed, as he marched to the baggage collection area. His world had disolved down to these next few minutes.
Waiting....waiting....waiting....there it is! He grabs his bag, and turns toward the doors. His stomach has turned inside out. His palms are warm and damp. His head feels hot and far too big for his shoulders. His legs are moving, but he can't feel them. Hot flushes are racing up and down his face and neck. He thinks he'll pass out before he sees her! Before he has a chance to realise it, he's through the doors, and looking for that face.
No face, nobody looks familiar.
He doesn't stop. He keeps moving, looking farther down the terminal. She's not here! Wasn't she always like that? Never on time? He looks around, back to where he'd come from. Nothing. Damn! He checks his phone. No message. His nerves are jangling, pulsing in every muscle. He feels the heat! He needs water, his mouth is......There!
There she is!
She's walking toward him, checking her phone, and she doesn't see him yet. His mind is racing. His heart is thundering in his chest. It's her. Definitely! He starts to move. She raises her head, looks in his direction. Their eyes meet. Double take! Eyes meet again. They smile, unrestrained, at each other. He has to drop his case. He hears her bag hit the floor, and then they are embracing!
The silence is deafening.
He hears nothing, sees nothing. All he can feel is the crushing embrace, her body melting into his. He holds as tight as possible, and he feels her respond. Time is suspended. He moves his head to find her lips. In the instant they touch, his whole world shrinks to that tiny fragment of time and space. He is oblivious to everything. He only knows the touch of her mouth to his, happiness flooding his heart and soul!
He breaks the moment to take her face in his hands. He sees her beaming smile. He sees in it a reflection of his own joy. And in her eyes is the realisation that he was right. Things have changed.
Unable to speak, he holds her tight, not wanting to let go. Sounds drift in and out, but he still can't hear. He feels lightheaded, almost dizzy. His legs are numb, trembling. He doesn't want to move.
He feels only one thing.
He feels in Love.
"The Fire Inside" [13+]