Miles of people, droves of them, hustling off to their appointed gates with seventeen suitcases strapped to themselves like horses getting ready for a long hike in the mountains. All of them scowling, wrinkling their brows. Hoping to get to where they want to go, and with all seventeen suitcases they came with. Me? I only had two bags, but one of them was large enough to be a body bag. Beside me was my brother, a semi-tall 16-year old, not the typical jock build, with lean shoulders and chicken legs.
As we made our way past the ticket counter the automatic doors whooshed open, nearly sweeping us away in a blast of icy air. It was January in Wisconsin, which means one thing: cold. The kind of cold that hurt the skin, just breathing made people cough. I just kept thinking sun, sand, and above all else: warmth.
As we zigged and zagged our way through the unending maze of bodies, we kept looking down at the flight information in my hands.
"Gate B-17, I'm sure of it" I said, none too convincingly apparently, for he kept reading aloud the gates and their destinations.
We reached a fairly quiet section of the airport, and all the sounds became subdued. It had the feel of a library to it: old, peaceful, and undisturbed.
"Is that our gate?" I asked. He looked up at the monitor and said, "Flight 182 to Memphis, I think that's us."
We stepped up to the woman behind the counter and handed her our tickets. She looked up at us, crows' feet at the edges of her eyes, soft blond hair, and slightly delicate hands, an attractive middle-aged woman. She had a soft voice, meek and down-to-earth.
"Right this way please," she said. We...