Joe in DFW

Ficiton, Personal

Originally written July 2008
Joe was haggard from the airplane ride and just wanted to be at home in Indiana. The Dallas airport was too much for him. Overwhelming noise and people going form here to there and not anyone in their own place just this place for the time being. The two backpacks, his own carry-on and now his wife’s, rested on each shoulder. His three day beard was starting to itch but it looked natural next the salt-and-pepper handle bar mustache. His cameo and tan US Army Retired hat was twisted and out of place on his head and didn’t match the rustic orange New Mexico t-shirt, blue jeans, or sandals, with socks, but that didn’t matter right now.
I just want to get home.
As blue and silver computer screen above the boarding gate changed from Louisville to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a small women dressed in an over used airline uniform stepped from the jet way and picked up the phone.
“Passengers flying to Louisville International Airport need to report to Gate B17. Due to a slight delay the plane will begin boarding soon at gate B17.” She continued talking; repeating the message as a small crowd of passengers began to collect bags, papers and small children before moving. Joe stood by the gate and waited for his wife to return from the bathroom behind the fast-food kiosk in front of him.
Why does it always have to be like this? We got stuck in this dang airport a week ago for three hours and nothing to do. Where is….
Judy chimed in on his thoughts, “Joe, don’t worry so much you look tense.” Everyone could see the shade of red begin to start up his neck as he turned to face her, “You need to relax. I know you want to get home but it’s all going to be ok.” He just stared at her, turned, and went towards the new gate.
“Where are you going,” she questioned him. He responded by pointing to the changed tote board and continued to walk away.
Why doesn’t she just let me be? She knows how much I hate it when she nags on me. Blood pressure this, overweight that.
At that moment a red, blue, and yellow ball about the size of small hand rolled into the side of his foot. He stopped walking and looked at the ground. Waddling forward a head full of brown curls, a pink dress and the laugh of a wondering toddler followed the ball and sat next to his feet. He smiled at the small child.
I miss the grandkids, he thought, why did we have to go home?