Traveler

The flight was uneventful. I watched the clouds, I watched the color of the sky brighten and then darken. I watched the roadways unfold and disappear. I watched the earth become water. And I felt the past catch hold, rough hands on a shirt sleeve.

You lost kid?”

Yeah. Gate 22. I’ve been all over this airport –”

He pointed. He was a tall man with black polished shoes, funeral shoes, and a dusty dark suit. “Hang left and then two rights.”

Thanks.”

First trip?”

Does it show?”

Always does. You could have found it on your own if you weren’t thinking too hard. Miss a flight, they’ll be another. It’s just waiting, son.”

I’ve never flown before.”

Then there’s nothing to worry about. The pilot takes care of that.”

And just like that, I was calm. First time in the big city, first time on a plane, first time away from home.

With nowhere to go.

Woke up in a strange city, strange bed. Stank of exhumed wine and wet, sour hair. Warm sticky sheets, a pair of blue cotton panties knotted around my wrist. The window was open, cold October air soaking into the linen.

Do you know the way to San Jose. A radio the size of a Cracker Jack box….

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