She never imagined three options, three men, three paths, three lives.

Sitting in the airport, she observes.  She watches.  She listens.  She admires.

She watches because it’s easier.  Easier than obsessing over her own life.  Easier than choosing between three.

To the left, a couple in their early 50s.  He protects, he leads.  She reads a novel.  Nicholas Sparks.

Reading about someone else’s love is easier than thinking about her own romance, or, possibly, lack thereof.  But judging by the interaction between herself and her partner, it isn’t likely.

An elderly woman en route to San Diego enters the scene.  Mr. Protector and his romance freak rise, almost too quickly, to offer the seventy-nine-year-old woman a place to rest her fragile frame.  Distracted by a young financial advisor with whom she’d shared an earlier conversation, the weak elderly woman walked past without a second glance.

Mr. Protector and his enamored sidekick exchange glances and shrug, reseating themselves next to the 27-year-old lush from Boston. 

On the phone, she speaks of various bars in Boston and hot spots she frequents.  She proudly recounts past stories of flying heavily influenced by alcohol.

“I’m surprisingly sober,” she says.  “I’ve been too lazy to go up to a bar.”

The indecisive observer fights the urge to shake her head in disappointment, appalled by the American epidemic of laziness and the lingering obsession with alcohol.

Moving to the right, her eyes rest upon the financial advisor, who leans against the wall, talking to someone from home, someone close.  After telling his friend about the book he purchased at the airport earlier that day (he has been here for almost ten hours), he comments on the annoyance of using a cell phone in airports.  He pauses for an overhead announcement.

“Passenger Jacoby, please report to Gate B17, this is the final boarding call.”

Returning to the conversation, the blonde, curly-haired broker begins to talk about the elderly woman.

“I asked her if she had a focus in her career prior to retirement, and she answered with, ‘home engineering.’ When I asked what she meant, she said, ‘I raised a family.’  I laughed so hard, I’d never heard it put that way before!”

Bored with the talkative, money-hungry dork, she shifts her attention to the Navy recruit waiting for the same flight to San Diego.  He just completed his basic training and ten days leave, and now he’s returning for his next phase of training.

He reminds her too much of people she would rather forget, so she gives up on observance.  She reaches into her carry-on bag to seize a book she’s been meaning to read.

The book strikes many chords with her.  She considers her own selfish nature as the author reveals his.

Every minute or so, she is interrupted by vibrations.  Technology.  God bless it.

Words revealing hidden feelings expressed through text messages sent by option number three.  She responds cordially, taking caution to use sensitivity.

Back to the book.  The author discusses poverty and humanitarian effort.  Homelessness.  Global concerns.

Three pages later, a vibration.

This one longer than before.

Option number one is calling.

Slightly baffled, she slides the phone open.


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