It was snowing hard in Cleveland, but they were able to land us. My head pounded with the alcohol aftereffects from the night before, and I didn’t relish the prospect of what they wanted us to do.
The airport was sardine can jammed with stranded passengers. I stood in one of the twisting United lines, inching my guitar along. Ahead of me were a father and son. At one point the dad pulled a bottle out of his pocket and shook two white tablets into his son’s hand.
I’m not usually the kind of person who would do this, but I up and said, “Excuse me, is that aspirin?”
The father said, “Why yes, it is.”
“Might I be able to get two of those from you?”
“Of, course.” He tapped two into my hand. His son had downed his with a soda. “Do you have any water?”
“No, but that’s okay. I can swallow them like this.”
I did, and then prayed for the effect to kick in.
“Where are you headed?” the dad asked.
“I’m going home, to Hawai‘i.”
“Wow,” said the son. “I always wanted to go there.”
“I left Madison this morning. I was supposed to catch the non-stop from O’Hare to Honolulu.”
“Oh, that’s too bad,” the dad said. “We’re trying to get to Seattle. We were headed to O’Hare from New York, but they sent us back here.”
We agreed that everything was a mess. Finally reaching the front, the process was explained. They issued us coupon-like pieces of paper. We would wait for our names to be called, at which point we would be told what gate to go to.
The United part of the airport, like all the other parts, was absolutely crammed up with people. We did find one seat. The dad sat there, and the son and I perched on a window ledge opposite him.
It was as if we’d always known each other. I told them all about Hawai‘i.
The dad said, “Can you play something Hawaiian?”
“You mean on my guitar? Right here?”
“Yes, please,” the son said. “Play something Hawaiian.”
Sad to say I didn’t know any songs in Hawaiian language, but I did play and sing, as softly as I could, Kui Lee’s “Days of My Youth.”
The two clapped, then asked for another. By this time, quite a few people had turned their attention in our direction.
My Hawaiian repertoire was thin, but I did know another of Lee’s, “I’ll Remember You,” so I played that. A couple other people actually clapped when I’d finished.
They wanted yet another. I dug up “Pearly Shells.”
About halfway through, the dad stopped me. “Lanning, I think they just called your name,” he said.
I listened. They called me again with a gate number. I put my guitar away, said my goodbyes, and headed for that gate.
I discovered I was flying to Minneapolis. Great, I’d be like 300 miles farther west than I’d been when I left Madison.
* * * * *
Aloha #WriterSaturday, I hope you are safe and well wherever you are. Do not forget to take precautions as things open up again. Today’s #WritingPrompt is
Use it to inspire a piece of writing, a sentence or two, a haiku, a short story, the first chapter of your novel, and then post that piece as a comment below. I would love to read what you write.