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FICTION: Beads

Published: January 28, 2005
Section: Arts, Etc.


Airport, please.

Great.

The taxi was small as far as cars went, in general. With her suitcase in the seat beside her, the tiny car reminded her more of a cage, and she, a helpless animal trapped in boots and mittens.

She rolled down her window a little. The crisp winter air immediately sought refuge inside, and she welcomed it with a slight tilt of the head.

Her eyes crinkled in delight as she stared out for several blocks. The drivers pointed cough grabbed her attention back inside the car, down in her boots, within her coat and onto her seat.

Sorry, she mumbled, clumsily grabbing at the window handle. It wouldnt go back up. The breeze now taunted her, biting her cheeks as the car sped on. She struggled for a while longer until the driver spoke.

Its the other way.

She hesitated, then spun the handle counterclockwise. The back of her seat felt good, warm, as she leaned on it, as if it was supporting her in a time of need.

Im sorry, I

Oh, its fine.

just wanted some air.

They rode in silence for a few more blocks, three left turns, two rights, and four red lights. She didnt look up the entire way. The tassels on her mittens she deemed more interesting than the passing scenery. At the fifth stop, she sighed.
How much further?

Oh, just 10, maybe 15 minutes.

Biting her lip, she fiddled with her mittens a little more before speaking up again.
If at all possible she began, and met the drivers gaze through the mirror, Would you be able to wait for a few minutes once you drop me off?

I guess so. Sure, I dont see why not.

Oh, good, she smiled. Great, thank you.

She placed a hand on the suitcase and the car continued again in silence the rest of the way.

Airport, please.

Fiona nodded and as the route mapped out in her mind, exclaimed, Great! She enjoyed simple requests;

common destinations allowed her to weave in and out of familiar streets with ease.

Once she had merged into traffic, Fiona allowed herself a quick look at her passenger via the rear view mirror. She was a rather average young woman, Fiona concluded, and returned her attention to the road.

When her neck felt a little cold a few moments later, Fiona realized her passenger must have been too hot and had opened her window. Fiona liked to keep the cab extra warm and toasty in the winter, much to the chagrin of most of her bundled up fares, she figured.

Deciding to compromise, Fiona turned down the heat blasting through the top panel vents, and grabbed a few M&Ms from an open bag on her lap. One of them almost went down the wrong way, and sent her into a slight coughing fit.

By the time she had regained her bearings, Fiona heard her passenger say, Sorry, and go to close the window. Fiona was going to tell her it was fine, the window open as it was, but instead became fascinated by the young womans desperate attempt to work the handle.

Its the other way, Fiona noted gently.

Im sorry, I

Oh, its fine.

just wanted some air.

The young woman was clearly troubled by something, and Fiona supposed the fresh air probably helped calm her thoughts a little. But the entire event was behind them now, and it wouldnt do to bring it up again. Fiona considered turning on the radio, but she felt the noise would only serve to intrude on her passengers thoughts.

How much further?

Oh, just 10, maybe 15 minutes, Fiona estimated, and concentrated on her driving once the young woman nodded her acknowledgment.

If at all possible would you be able to wait for a few minutes once you drop me off?

Surprised, Fiona smiled at her, I guess so. Sure, I dont see why not.

Oh, good. Great, thank you.

Now, Fiona was curious. Who went to the airport for just a few minutes?

To be continued next week