“Take heed that no man deceive you.” Matthew 24:4
By: Victoria Leigh
She found herself on an unexpected stage. The PA crackled to life as her thumb pressed the audio button. Mustering as much cheer as she could, she began her rehearsed spiel into the microphone, “Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to Flight A707.” All eyes in the gate area turned toward her at the podium.
Hoping she didn’t sound as empty as she felt, Jill continued, “At this time, I’d like to invite any passengers who would like to pre-board, to come forward. This is for those travellers who may need or have requested a little extra time or assistance in the boarding process. After that, we will be boarding by zones. Please check your ticket for your seat assignment and boarding information.” She’d memorized her airline announcements just as she’d been taught.
Her fingers went back to work pecking at the computer keys confirming seat assignments though her mind was far away. After a few minutes, she again picked up the microphone and switched it ON, “For those of you who may need extra time or assistance, we invite you to board now.”
The old man limped toward her. There was a familiarity in his milky blue eyes though she couldn’t place it. Nor did she have time to think about it.
Jill was fairly new to her job with the airlines and had joined on to travel the world. She knew her task at hand and that she had but a short window of time to have all of the passengers boarded and the plane door closed in order to meet industry metrics. It was a 757 and there were almost 300 people to get seated.
The old man’s barcode gave a double beep in the electronic red box signaling that he was clear to enter the jet bridge which led to the plane. Jill’s eyes caught his as she thanked him and handed him back his boarding pass. His aged eyes were foggy and Jill could see that they were filled with tears. And for a split second, she was filled with sorrow. He, along with the other 294 passengers and 8 crew members, were headed to Warsaw. She too had a plane to catch in just a couple of hours but she would be going to a beach in the South
Pacific for some much needed and deserved, she told herself, rest. She didn’t want to think about him or his sadness. There had already been too much of that.
Jill moved on to the next customer until the double beep of the red scan fell into a rhythm. The passengers boarded by zones when called, just as she’d directed, and she thanked each one by name when the scanner approved their ticket. She deliberately avoided further eye contact. She didn’t want to feel any pain and these people were headed to a country with a haunted past and borders that were now being pressed in on from all sides by hostile enemies. She wondered how much longer flights would be allowed to freely enter the country and why all these people were headed to a place of such instability.
The fireball lit up the night sky. Pieces of glowing metal showered down from the heavens like a hot Summer’s rain. The stunned crowd stopped in their tracks on the streets below as the horror of what was unfolding above them pierced their hearts and the falling embers pierced the earth..............
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