Friday, June 15, 2012

The Passenger in 27F

Eddie finally made love to the passenger in 27F that night on the beach, with the sand luxuriously warm and soft, the moon glowing overhead like a giant clock face. The sound of the waves crashed in step with the rhythmic motion of their coupling. He was in true paradise.

A tropical breeze swept over his body, swirling her golden hair across his face. He took a moment to reflect on her beauty: the aquiline nose, the intelligent forehead, the pair of arched eyebrows - knitted at the moment, as if in deep concentration - her lips, full and moist. She was breathing hard, biting her lower lip as her body quivered beneath his. She had her arms wrapped tightly around his shoulders, a long slender leg overlapping his.

She came and he followed, their fingers digging into each other's flesh, their throats emitting moans of deep pleasure. They held each other breathlessly for a long moment, their bodies tense, and then slowly, each of them relaxed.

Eddie rolled onto his back and enjoyed the warm embrace of the sand as the ocean called out to him. He looked upward, into the star-filled night, the swaying palm trees breaching the edge of his vision. A smile lingered on his lips and his eyelids grew heavy... he was dimly aware of the girl nuzzling him, the heat of her breath on his neck, her fingers interlaced with his. Soon, without awareness, the serenity of sleep engulfed him.

That was two days ago and he hadn't seen the girl since.

The two of them had been marooned on the deserted island for two months and seven days. They hadn't been apart since their plane crashed amid the raging waves and torrential winds of an unexpected storm. He'd washed up on shore that night - miraculously uninjured - but shivering in fear and shock. Just before sunrise, after hours of treading the beach in search of survivors, he came across a small lagoon.

That's when he saw the girl.

At first, upon seeing the lump of human flesh wrapped in strands of slimy seaweed, he froze, his heart stopped. But then - as if an answer to his prayers - the girl coughed and her lungs spat out seawater and her eyes batted open. She had remarkable eyes: bright green emeralds. He gazed down at the beautiful creature in his arms and a tidal wave of relief consumed him.

During the days of their exile, Eddie tried to converse with the young woman, but she never uttered a word. He came to the belief that she didn't speak English or was mute, and neither of those possibilities bothered him.

At night, the girl with the golden hair would sit on the beach with her arms tight around her legs, her eyes focused on the stars, almost as if she were waiting for something. Eddie would often appear at her side and wrap an arm around her. At first, the girl shied away, but soon she seemed to welcome Eddie's presence.

Over the course of the next several weeks, they existed on the bountiful nourishment the island offered. A waterfall discovered further inland provided the two of them the opportunity to drink fresh water and bathe in a sparkling pool. During this time, he grew to forget the life he'd left behind and found himself welcoming a bliss he'd never known existed.

The third day after the girl's disappearance, a Search & Rescue seaplane flew overhead and caught sight of the bonfire which Eddie ignited each night. Despite their ensuing rigorous search of the island, followed by Eddie's frantic pleas not to abandon the search, the pilot and crew deemed him as the sole survivor and delivered him back to his friends and family in the States.

During one of the many interviews that followed, the team of investigators challenged Eddie over his testimony. A heavy-set man with hairy wrists looked at him and said, "You say this woman was seated in row 27, seat F, correct?"

Eddie nodded.

The man spun an airline seating diagram on the table in front of Eddie. "This particular configuration, the 767-400, version 76D, doesn't have a row 27. The last row before the galley is row 26. The seating then picks up at row 30."

The man stared at Eddie, expecting a response.

He swallowed. "I know what I saw. I was in the middle of row 26 and looked over my shoulder and saw the girl sitting in the aisle seat behind me. 27F." He spoke these last words firmly. His memory was then flooded with an image of the girl, just seconds before the plane tore apart. As everyone else in the cabin cried and bent their heads in prayer, Eddie noticed the look of serenity on her face as her green eyes locked with his and a faint smile formed on her lips.

Years later, as Eddie hurried for a subway to take him across the city for an important business meeting, he accidentally bumped into an attractive woman with long golden hair as she exited the train. He smiled and murmured an apology, but then caught sight of the woman's bright emerald eyes. She smiled and looked at him with a recognition that shook him to his core.

In an instant, the subway doors closed and the train departed. The woman was gone, but what the encounter had given to Eddie was priceless. Somewhere, deep in his heart, he knew it was her.

And someday, he would find her.

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