Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Body Language (11/25/10)
TITLE: Conversations At The Airport
By Brian Passe
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On departure, couples hold each other for an extra moment. Their embrace is a hushed moment of love and longing. She stays behind. He moves on. Forgotten are todays errands and tasks. He looks back with a final smile. She smiles and waves, not letting him see her bowed head; arms wrapped around herself as she walks away. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last. It is part of their lives. In a few days or weeks, joy will will fill them both with anticipation and a welcoming embrace.
Foul weather breeds foul moods. Shirt ties are twisted. Tickets are slapped on the counter. Self-importance is visible as some passengers shake their tickets while pointing at an empty gate. Inexperienced flyers sit wide-eyed, too stunned to ask for help. Searching for alternatives, airline employees stand firm. Their rapid typing is more intense. Verbal responses are made with tight lips, short nods and more rapid typing. The gatekeepers have been through this before. Seasoned by past storms, experienced gatekeepers step to the counters, ready for the wave of rebuke
Explaining to emphatic travelers that only God controls the weather, verbal blows strike the gatekeepers. Exceptionally sharp blows cause a gatekeeper’s neck to straighten and move slightly back. Not down for the count, the gatekeeper leans forward with measured, clear words. Red faces glow, arms flail, bags are slammed to the floor. The fuming intrepid passengers draw together as a pack. A primal sense binds them together. In response to the herd like movement, the gatekeepers call on their own for strength and help. Two packs now stand separated by an invisible line. Instinct warns them that a breached line, by either side, brings severe consequences. Ever vigilant, those charged with security move silently from pack to pack. The gatekeepers sense their presence and are emboldened. The passenger pack has tunnel vision. All sense of awareness beyond the counter is gone. Their rage is quenched only by a flight to anywhere.
The storm passes. Packs disband. The gate is quiet, hushed by the silence of on-time flights, fresh coffee and a child's awe of planes lifting into the air. Peace. Balance has returned to the routine of travel.
The young show the most emotion at baggage claim. She jumps with excitement and opens her arms. He laughs and welcomes her into his. Couples married for several years smile and nod their heads. The joy is no less, but their experience runs deeper. That experience lets them communicate long felt love through their eyes and a gentle, private kiss. She drifts under his arm as they watch the bags clunk and scrape by.
The language of airports is universal. One needs no words to understand what is happening. The next time you travel by air, take a moment and watch the silent conversations. Be assured that no matter the situation, planes will depart and arrive. Eventually you’ll reach your destination. Take time and enjoy the silent language, or, become part of the conversation.
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