Here's a little short story I wrote a few years back.
A Stranger’s Love
His face is serene. From the bottom of the large window that looks out onto the runway, the sunrise peeks in. Its rays; broken by the branches of large leafed plant, lay across him at odd angles. Sunlight settles on his face like a soft blanket and I make out long lashes that rest at the top of his cheeks. I shift in my seat, clasp my hands in my lap, and swallow against my dry mouth.
I glance beyond him to the newsstand. Papers and magazines fill racks next to shelves stocked with gum and toiletries and overpriced, dusty souvenirs. In the quiet morning hour, the clerk applies her mascara as she looks into a small pocket mirror.
My attention returns to the man. Faded jeans mold legs that stretch out long and cross at the ankles. A dark gray flannel shirt, tucked in, lay open at the collar, exposing a stark white undershirt beneath. An airport identification tag is clipped to a breast pocket and the shirtsleeves are rolled back from his wrists. His arms, folded across his chest, rise and fall in rhythm to the long, deep breaths he takes.
My body softens into the vinyl-cushioned chair beneath me in response to the passive invitation he offers. In my chest, a small hollow ache forms. I close my eyes for a moment to indulge in harmless fantasy. The ache turns to delicate warmth that spreads out from my chest to my arms and legs. My fingers tingle and I draw my arms tight around me. To draw something closer or to protect myself I don’t know.
The speaker above announces the arriving flight and I open my eyes. His eyes, blue as a summer sky, look directly into mine. Surprise and confusion flicker there. I can offer no explanation. I cannot not look away.
My face warms as his gaze travels down the bridge of my nose, across my cheeks, resting for a moment on my lips. It rises to my hair and I find my hand moving the hair back from my face as it follows the path of his gaze.
A slow smile is mirrored in his eyes. He cocks his head to the side and raises his eyebrows slightly in both silent acknowledgment and question. I cannot help a small nod in reply.
I could love this man. Maybe I already do. Without a spoken word, I know I will not tire of his voice. I know his touch, firm and gentle. With a steady stare his eyes reach my soul and I feel the promise of forever.
Unexpected and unsought emotions that mirror my own cross his face. Love, desire, chance, and commitment collide and duel around and between us. He leans forward in his seat, stares across at me, elbows on his knees and hands clasped under his chin. Impulsively I strike the same pose and our smiles deepen. Minutes pass. A lifetime.
Around us, life continues. People filter into the waiting area. Conversations and laughter mingle in the air.
"Daddy!" A loud cry pierces the air from a little girl as she runs from the gateway door. Abruptly his expression changes and he opens his arms to catch the little girl as she flings herself into the air. A young woman follows, drops her carry-on luggage, and circles her arms around them both in a warm embrace.
His eyes close, then open and meet mine over her shoulders. Silently we speak. Good-bye. Please understand. Good-bye. I do.
We could have talked; could have progressed past harmless fantasy and explored an unexpected love. But we didn't. He has a family; a wife and daughter.
When my flight is called I board the plane. I smile as I settle into my seat and my thoughts travel to the end of my flight. To a man who waits there for me. I love this man. I never tire of his voice. His touch is firm and gentle. His look reaches my soul and promises me forever. Just as I promise him.
I lean back into the seat and wait to go home. I know I can love more than once in my life, I just choose to live it one gift at a time.