|xie_xie_xie (xie_xie_xie) wrote in qaf_challenges,|
@ 2007-11-17 00:13:00
PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, PA.
His tired blue eyes are fixed on his plane ticket, as if it‘s a mirror reflecting his own exhausted image. The bustle and noise that surrounds him and fills the airport doesn’t stir his distracted mind. He turns his head towards the airport’s huge windows--feathery snow comes down from the grey skies dancing in the low breeze. It stacks up on top of the early snow that peeked through Brian’s windows as they made love for the last time. He decided it is the weather affecting his physical and mental being. Placing him in the world where everything is so grey, so dark. The world, he thought, decided to sit on his shoulders today.
In an hour, it will be 10’o’clock. This indicates new life; new opportunities, new chances, and new people to meet…And a new home. He straightened himself up, trying to be comfortable as much as possible on the hard seat in the waiting area of the airport. His seating position added more stress on his knotted shoulder muscles. The people before him who sat in this hard, uncomfortable chair left imprints of their troubles and worries. And the imprints they left behind added to his own sense of loneliness, excitement, and discomfort.
He closed his eyes to catch a quick nap before his flight to the Big Apple. He thought of Brian and how he looked when they said their goodbyes. He felt his chest tighten. How he wished to caress Brian's handsome face once again. Brian successfully held back his tears, but Justin’s emotions saw through Brian’s mask. The latter held himself together very well, and he knew it was for both of them. He opened his eyes upon hearing a lively laughter.
A pretty lady with her child sat across him; their eyes met. Her hair is long and very dark like a crow across the blue sky. She gave him an amiable smile. Justin smiled back. The little boy who also has dark hair like his mom and sat patiently next to her. The little boy's green eyes focused on his mother’s face. He had the sudden urge to pull his sketch pad and pencils out of his messenger bag but he was easily distracted. The clock on the wall of the waiting area ticks above the high decibels that are trap within the building. It’s counting the seconds to his future…
He sat up straight in his seat when he heard his flight number being called. One by one, people started getting up, stretching and reaching for their luggage and loved ones. It is time to board the plane. He stood up looking behind his shoulder, and then he bent down to pick up his luggage. He started walking towards the gate. He stopped, checking his ticket once again, making sure he’s heading towards the right gate. He hesitated to for a moment, looking back as if waiting for something, someone to appear. ..To stop him from boarding his plane and making a new life. There’s a pain deep within him, keeping up a mantra that he didn’t want to listen to. His forehead is creased with worry. He thought of what Brian had said, “it’s only time…”
Yes it is. But it feels so final. His flight number again echoes not just in the whole airport but also in his head.
It is time. A mechanical bird flew the sky carrying hopes, dreams, new future and a confused soul…
The Village, NYC.
“Hey”, Justin felt a tap on his shoulder as he stood by the doorway of his tiny room. He turned around to see Candy, his roommate and Daphne’s friend. He shares a room with Candy in The East Village.
“I know it‘s crappy but hey the rent is not that bad considering where we‘re located,” her arms are across her chest, her elbow nudged him on the side. Justin grinned. “You should’ve seen my apartment back in Pittsburgh…This is definitely a lot cleaner.”
“Well, I’m sure you’ll love it here,” her pierced lip gave Justin the sweetest smile.
“I sure hope so…” It was almost a whisper. Candy seemed to sense some unhappiness in his voice.
“I know you will,” she replied softly before turning away.
He remained standing, his eyes still on something invisible in his room.
And, his life went on.
The tall buildings of the city, its busy streets and people became part of his life. The yellow cabs and foreign drivers, the traffic-jammed bridges and tunnels; all became a familiar sight. His job, his art, became a routine. It was supposed to be fun; it was supposed to be a choice. If it was, then why does he question it? He seemed to lose his enthusiasm, his drive, his passion, and his inspiration. A lot of times, he would walk down Christopher Street taking in the rich culture that enveloped the area, but he can stopped comparing his past to his future.
He phoned Brian and vice versa, three times a week. Then, the phone calls became less frequent as the months roll by. He thought of Him less and less. But there were nights where he just lay in bed and dreamt of Brian until his eyes filled with the dawn of the new day. But there were days when he refused to let his mind wander. Maybe it was the nagging thought that some choices weren't for the best. Still, he remained in the City That Never Sleeps. Wandering at night, in the streets--in his dreams.
It’s been a year since he left Pittsburgh. It feels like he stayed in this tiny, crowded apartment for ages, but finally he is packing his stuff one again, to move to a better apartment. A better studio in West Village awaits him. Now that he is successful and making a good amount of money, he can afford his own apartment and share a studio with another artist. He is still a neophyte, but his name is starting to sound familiar to critics and art dealers all over the city. He should be ecstatic. He should be on cloud nine. It’s an artist's dream to be recognized. But the void within him stays empty. He’s not complete. He’s not happy.
“Hey!” Justin heard a loud voice behind him followed by a hard tug on the strap of his messenger bag. He almost lost his balance but caught himself on time.
“Young man, you have to be careful, that cab almost hit you! Are you okay?” An older man stood behind him, still holding onto the strap of his messenger bag. He looked at the older man; no words came out of his dried mouth. He almost got killed crossing 42nd Ave. He didn’t see the car coming. The older man shook his head when he remained unresponsive and walked away. Amidst the crazy and fast life of New York City, he thought no one was paying attention. None one ever stood still--taking the time to admire the intricate design on the walls of the passage ways to subways. No one ever stood still--taking the chance to breathe life. He thought he’d easily forget how to live in the city. But someone reminded him he’s still alive, and he needs to pay attention. He looked around, catching the older man’s form as he continued on his own journey to the other side of the street. He stood still. Watching everybody get caught up in the fast life. He stood back watching himself in the crowd…
“HEY.” A slight shake on his shoulder woke him up. His blue eyes wide in amazement surprised and confused to find himself still sitting in the waiting area of the airport. Only the chairs around him are no longer occupied by passengers. The lady and her kid are no longer around either.
“Your flight’s been boarding, Sir.” A pleasant face looks over him. “You only have 5 minutes to gather your stuff and aboard the plane, Sir.”
Confused, he got up and picked up his luggage. He looked at the gate entrance--sensing the clock that is virtually ticking in his head. It’s time to go…
He shivers as the freezing wind of the night blows its breath on him. He pulls his hat to cover his ears. He looks up the building in front of him. It feels like the first time he was looking for Brian; screaming his name in the night outside his building… He’s terrified and exhilarated at the same time. He bends down to pick up the luggage that sits by his feet and continues to his new journey.
The loft is dark and quiet. The only light that illuminates the loft comes from its huge windows. He senses a body move on the bed, making soft rustling noise echoing in the night.
He stands by the bedroom door, by the foot of the platform bed, looking at the naked beauty before his presence.
“Justin…?” Brian stands up, amazed and confused, reaches out for him.
His full lips want to say something, but decide touching Brian will mean more. His journey in life is always going to be uncertain and finding his way will be hard and terrifying. But life will always lead him to one and only person…the one who guided him to the beginning of his journey. And the one that will be with him towards the end of it…