Through morning rush hour traffic, I made my way to the airport. I am off again to deal with security risks at the Parliament Building in Sydney, Australia. I have made this trip a few times before. “When will they ever maintain what I have been teaching them,” I silently ponder.
Getting out of the cab, I generously tip the driver – he has a large family and just newly an immigrant from Romania, he needs it more than I do; plus it’s just an added expense on the expense account. He graciously accepts and helps me with my luggage to the curb.
I pulled along my luggage into the automatic doors and entered the small airport city – people chasing kids, running for gates, yelling into phones. How do these people do it? I love to travel but sometimes I wonder what life would be like in a 9-5 world.
I glance up at the departure screen – scanning down the list, I find it – Flight 31 departing LA to Australia is right on schedule. “Great! So far: so good”. I check my baggage and head for Gate 13, only 30 minutes to pre-boarding; enough time to skim over my e-mail. Settling down in the airport lounge, I drag out my laptop from my carry-on. Powering it up I scan the airport – nothing interesting, but then again its still early. Once in my email, I notice junk, junk, work and more junk – so much for a spam filter”. Oh well, might as well read the obituaries.
“Attention passengers we will now begin pre-boarding for Flight 31 to Sydney, Australia. This is for those flying with children, unaccompanied minors or anyone requiring assistance during boarding”.
I begin to make my way closer to the counter knowing that general boarding will be called in a matter of minutes once the pre-boarding passengers are seated.
“Attention passengers we will now continue with the general boarding for Flight 31 to Sydney, Australia”.
Finally after getting settled into my seat in business class, I dig out my ear phones, sometimes on these long flights I watch movies, write poetry; but most often I settle in with the oldies station gently playing in my ears.
As I scanned the satellite radio, I found my usual station and plugged in. Freddy Fender started serenading me with “Take a Letter Maria”. What a great tune, I quietly tapped my fingers and sang to myself: “...send it to my wife, say I won’t be coming home that I found a new life...” She must have done him wrong to be getting a Dear John letter in the mail.
As the song ended my all-time favorite sweetly whispered to me “Daddy’s Home” That Shep sure could sing. As he and the Limelight’s crooned I fell softly asleep, quickly drifting deeply.
Suddenly there was a tap on my shoulder, “Mme. Mme. I need you to put your seat in the upright position, we are experiencing turbulence and the captain wants all seats up and belts fastened. “Oh sure, no problem.” I then realized that there was a young women seated next to me.
I extended my hand and introduced myself. “Good day, my name is Angelina – but most just call me Ang. How are you?”
“Fine, thank you. My name is Janice; I am traveling down under for business. You?”
“Yes, but I’ll be sure to squeeze in a bit of pleasure too.” “I just hope Avis is better this time. Last trip here they had me waiting for three hours for a car I had booked weeks in advance!”
The next few hours were passed with talk of families, work and thoughts. We were like old high school chums catching up on a way to a reunion.
Before we knew it the captain was advising us that we were about to start descending into Sydney. Janice and I exchanged contact information and promised to keep in contact. Never hurts to have another friend, and we sure did get along great.
As we landed and came to a stop, I stretched my legs and gathered up my belongings. What a trip! Can’t wait to check in and go grab something to eat. After making my way into the airport from the airplane I entered the ever familiar airport shuffle to claim my baggage. As luck would have it my two suitcases were the first to come clamoring down the chute and onto the conveyor belt.
I grabbed my bags and head for the car rental counter. Walking in that direction I noticed a few folks had gathered holding signs with names on them at the entrance way. I looked quickly and saw “Angelina Power” on a placard being held by a rather handsome man.
I approached him and he said my name out loud in a question form. “Yes”, I replied “but there must be some mistake. I have a rental waiting for me”.
“Well, actually Mme., no you don’t”. “Please call me Ang”. I interrupted; Mme sounds so old! “Ok, Ang, there was an error in your booking and a car will not be ready for you until first thing tomorrow morning and my representative will deliver it to you directly at the hotel. I am the District Manager for Avis and thought it only proper to meet you here to explain the mishap and to ensure your safe arrival at the Plaza Sydney.”
“Why thanks…I guess, was all that I could stammer out.” I could go on about how unimpressed I am with the service that I have received from Avis both in the past and right now, but, why bother. This handsome man is standing right here and I am going to take advantage of it for a change!
“Ang, is everything ok?” My thought bubble burst, “Oh, yes – just a little tired and absolutely famished!”
“No problem, but before I forget let me properly introduce myself, my name is Paul Jacobs. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Ms Power, ahh…I mean Ang.” “Yes, thank you Paul my pleasure as well”, I smiled to myself.
Paul continued, “If you don’t mind, I know this great little spot not far from here just down the on the shore. It serves the best seafood dishes. He continued, “I would love to share your company, this is unless of course, you would rather dine alone.”
“No, Paul, I would be delighted to have you dine eat with me. Just as long as you promise to share a glass of wine or two!”
“Now lets get you checked in over at the Plaza so we can go eat!”
“Sounds great”, I reply.
After I was settled into my room, I quickly freshened up. Paul was waiting for me in the lobby. Running my fingers through my hair, aimlessly trying to revitalize it, I couldn’t help but wonder that something just wasn’t right.
This handsome man, and might I add very pleasant picks me up and treats me like a queen, it all seems too good to be true . My father used to always say, “Angelina, if it seems too good to be true , then chances are, it is!”
Dad as I look up towards heaven, this had better not be one of your jokes!
Shake your head, Ang. Just go with the flow. I see my devil and angel co-pilots are at it again. Too many episodes of Law & Order and that Profiling course that I just hammered aren’t helping either.
I guess once bitten twice shy. Riley really did a number on things for me. I have to constantly remind myself that all men are not like him. He’s out of my life, long gone – never to return. I made sure of that. With a grin and a spritz of Night Magic I left my room and headed down the corridor to the elevator.
It was a beautiful evening, sun just cresting the horizon and a warm, gentle breeze kissed my skin as we drove along the sea side. Gazing out the window looking at the wonderful stretch of sandy beach I couldn’t help but think what a beautiful place to own a little piece of ocean front property. Paul turned into the “Shanty Bistro”, parked and quickly rounded the car to open my door for me. “Why, thank you kind sir”. “Anything for you, my Lady”.
We chuckled while entering this quaint eatery. The hostess greeted us as we entered. “Good evening, for two?”
“Yes”, we answered simultaneously.
“Right this way” she motioned for us to follow.
She led us over to the corner of the restaurant and seated us at a secluded table nestled in a corner gazebo that was over looking the ocean.
Making sure we were seated and comfortable – she motioned for our server to make her way over to us. Paul stood and met the server half way. He leaned and whispered into her ear while looking at me with this smile of up-to-no-good written all over his lips.
“Absolutely, sir, that won’t be a problem at all”, she replied
“Now Paul, what are you up to?” “Nothing, at all – just asked for a little privacy”.
As I caught the beginning of the evening sunset reflecting off the water, “Paradise, absolute paradise”, gently escaped my lips. Almost immediately blushing, realizing that my thought was vocalized. I didn’t want Paul to think that after only just meeting him that I was too comfortable. Paul reached over and gave my hand a squeeze and smiled at me with his deep blue eyes.
Our server returned and took our orders. Paul, he ordered the Lobster Bisque and I opted for the Seafood Linguini. While awaiting the main course, we sampled a few of Australia’s fine wine and decided on a bottle of Wolfblass Yellow Label. What a wonderfully delicious evening, I smiled to myself gazing off into the sunset.
Paul gently brushed my leg with his hand and I jerked. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you”. “No worries, I was just off in another world – captivated by the view”. “I completely agree Ang”, as he intensely smiled into my eyes.
He leaned in and we embraced in a sweet, long kiss. As he slipped a beautiful long stem rose on my lap.
“Mme, Mme – excuse me Mme. We are experiencing turbulence and the captain requires all passengers to have their seats in the upright positions and seat belts buckled for your safety.”
Puzzled, I rub my eyes and continue to wake up. It took a minute or two to realize that I was still onboard Flight 31 heading for Sydney. As I sat up and straightened out the blanket on my lap, I felt something drop to the floor. When I leaned over to see what it was – I saw a single long stem rose with a note attached.
I unfolded the paper, to find that the note was handwritten on Avis letterhead. It read:
- P. xo
I immediately scanned the plane, there was only a few passengers seated in business class and they were all females. I then called over the attendant. I asked her if she had seen anyone during the flight place anything on my lap. She hadn’t.
I laid my head back, grinned and thought to myself, “No, Paul – Thank YOU”!
copyright 2008. S. Dayslink