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A Close Encounter (1)

by Sandra Marttinen

Steve noticed her the first time after checking in at the terminal desk. Impatiently looking around, wondering what he would do for two hours before his flight left for Chicago. Why did he leave the lap-top at home? At least he could have been working on the sales report… but he let the boss talk him into making this trip a mini-vacation. After going to the all day meeting, Steve would be free to explore the city for five days.

I guess he is right; I have been working too many hours, he mused. The divorce had hit him hard. It wasn't the best of marriages, but there was someone there at the end of the day. How he hated walking into an empty apartment at night! He tried to fill the hours by working out at the gym. The combination of exercise and loss of appetite made his slender frame very appealing to women. But he was oblivious to the female eyes that followed his walk toward the waiting room.

He looked around at the many passengers, and decided to play the "Who am I game?" Hmm. Those two are obvious; black and white clothes, crosses, talking quietly together. Nuns from a catholic order. Too easy. OK Steve, keep looking. That loud-mouthed cashmere coat fellow. What do I think he does for a living? The woman next to him with notepad is jotting down his every word, must be his secretary. The way he looks around to see if anyone is watching, he sure seems to be important to himself!

That couple must be on their honeymoon. The way they are laughing, holding hands, and looking so intently at each other. Then there's the pink corsage on her suit. Steve sighed. What I would give to be in their shoes. He glanced toward the panoramic windows overlooking the runway. A woman was looking out the window, a forlorn expression on her face. He noticed her face first, then the very expensive looking blue suit.

He didn't usually notice women's clothing, but his ex-wife had expensive taste so he unconsciously recognized the quality of the clothes. Versace? Maybe. It was that kind of expense that eventually led to the divorce. I couldn't believe her tantrum when I wouldn't let her spend another $5,000 on a dress for the ball. Throwing vases and lamps like a petulant child. Don't even go there, Steve. He gave himself a mental kick and concentrated on the young woman.

The blond hair lay in curly layers, just brushing her shoulders. With a smile, she would have been a knock-out! It wasn't just her looks that attracted him, though. He remembered his mother's words "Stevie, you just want to hug the world to fix everyone's problems, and sometimes the world doesn't want to be hugged!" Was that the attraction? He wanted to find out why she was so sad and "fix" the problem?

She stared out the window occasionally, and then took a book from her bag. But instead of reading, she placed it on the empty seat on the left.

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