All Our Travels

By Paul Crenshaw

June 20, 2016

All Our Travels

Once we’re in the air Dale tells me he is retired military—he graduated high school the same year I did. Beside him Beth is from Boise—she once broke down near Bentonville, where my best friend now lives.

Small world, we say, when we uncover these coincidences, but what we really mean is that we feel small in it, struggling to find some connection through age or geography. Dale is going home after business. Beth is starting a new job. I don’t have the heart to tell them my grandmother is dying, either because the trip is too short or the clouds have gotten into my eyes.

The security gate was not even screening when I arrived at the airport, only the signboards showing arrivals and departures, connections made and missed. Then there was the slow shoeless shuffle in the pre-dawn dark. The sidling along the aisles, the taxiing down the runway. The earth fell far below as we swung toward the rising sun.

Now Dale has gone to sleep. Beth is busy dreaming. Our small exchanges sit beside us like wishes or wings, words we whisper in hope the weather holds. I can only trust, on arrival, that the company of these others will continue to comfort me. That the small clouds of separation I carry around with me will clear, and I’ll be able to see that even the earth spins so it will stay together, instead of coming apart.


Photo "One Cloud Taller Than the Rest" provided by Henry Burrows via Flickr's Creative Commons licence.

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