It was nearly seven-thirty and the plane would begin boarding in half an hour. Felice had been there since six-thirty. She didnt care; she liked to be early. She packed her bags five days in advance, and with no other preparations to be made, kept herself occupied for the remaining five days with her new-found hobby of reading.
Joan, a friend, had told Felice about a book club she had just joined to "try something new", and suggested that Felice join as well. Felice thought that taking up reading might be a good activity to pick up instead of sitting around channel surfing all day, but she didnt feel comfortable with joining a book club. She joked with Joan that she wasnt ready for that level of commitment yet, but the truth was that she just didnt want to feel like she was in a high school English class with a bunch of mopey, romantic middle-aged women. Instead, Felice offered to read the books that Joan and the book club were also reading.
The current selection, "Nicholas' Walk He Remembered", kept Felice company as she waited for her flight. She loved romantic stories, as long as there wasnt a love triangle, and this story seemed to be devoid of any triangles, so Felice read on.
"Is this seat taken?"
Startled, Felice looked up to find a man standing before her, pointing at the seat to her left. Felice decided he looked like a younger Tom Hanks, and laughed at her Forrest Gump reference.
"Oh, no. Not at all."
Felice quietly returned to her reading when a few minutes later, she felt the man looking at her. "Yes?" Felice asked.
"Oh, nothing. Sorry. I was just admiring your footwear," the man said with a grin. Felice looked down at her feet and realized the man was making fun of her Ugg boots. She scowled at the man and replied with a harsh "thanks". The man laughed to himself.
"I'm sorry, I didnt mean to be rude. I've just seen the type of girls who wear those boots and they are idiots."
Felice couldnt believe the man's rudeness and was left speechless. She began quickly gathering her things.
"Wait! No, I'm sorry. That came out wrong. I was going to add that I was wrong because obviously you're not one of those girls. That book you're reading." The man pointed to the book in Felice's hand. "Nicholas' Walk He Remembered. It's genius. One of my favorites."
Suddenly, Felice forgot her distaste for the man, replacing it with a cat-like curiosity.
"You've read this book?"
"Yes, I have."
"Huh. What's your name?"
"Sorry. I'm Jeff."
They shook hands.
"So, Felice, where are you flying off to?"
"I"m going home for my mother's funeral, " Felice said, with a hint of caution in her voice. "Coupeville. Washington."
"Oh, yeah? I'm sorry to hear about your mother; that's terrible."
They both paused for a moment.
"You know, I actually just came from that area."
"Coupeville? Really? What were you doing there?"
"Nothing, really. Just visiting. I was actually in Seattle, and just decided to drive out."
Felice nodded with understanding. "Well, I dont know why anyone would want to visit Coupeville," she thought to herself. "There isnt much there. That's why I left."
Neither of the two knew what to say next, so they let the uncomfortable silence hang in the air. Felice flipped through her book; Jeff looked at this watch, then surveyed the rest of the terminal.
"So why are you sitting here?"
Felice paused for a moment, working out the question in her head. "If you're here returning from Seattle, and this flight at this gate is going to Seattle, why are you sitting here instead of getting to your connecting flight or collecting your luggage or catching a ride home?"
Jeff smiled and let out a small laugh. Felice didnt move. She just kept looking at Jeff, pressing the question with her unflinching stare.
(first draft, unfinished)