Saturday, February 6, 2021

1

April 2019

I am at the Las Vegas airport. McCarran.  I am here in plenty of time for the flight and am sitting in the waiting area by the gate.  A woman across the way from me has no fewer than four bags around her, set up like some sort of barricade. Apparently, the one piece of carry-on rule has not had the desired effect.  Behind me a man sleeps and snores with his head sagging to the right as if someone snuck behind and clubbed him.  A kid about eight is doing frenzied laps around a row of seats. He is, in no time, going to take a header tripping on one of the suitcases surrounding my neighbor. I imagine the launch and enjoy the image. A fellow standing to my right is talking to himself, or at least twenty years ago I would have thought so.  Now I know that he probably is talking to someone else using a wireless gizmo. Still he looks funny walking two steps one way and then shuffling in another direction.  

If I had something to read I probably would not have noticed the characters.  I consider getting up and buying a book or a newspaper, then scan the seats to see if someone has left a magazine or something behind. Not much around.  This is a sign of the times.  People don't read newspapers anymore. I have one of those phones that has Siri in it.  If I really need to know what is new I can just ask the librarian in my pocket.

There is one discarded Las Vegas paper nearby. It’s not all in one piece. I see something on a page that makes me go and pick the paper up more quickly than I would have otherwise.  What has got my attention is an article about an elderly couple well into their 80s.  They're trying to find their daughter who disappeared forty six years ago next June.  They swear that before the anniversary of the disappearance they will find the person who ruined their lives.

It's a long article and I read it through.  The couple is from Nevada.  There's a photo of the daughter.  I read the article again more carefully.  I take out my computer and punch in some information. Then I ask Siri a few questions.  Then I spend time Googling this and that.  Then I no longer focus on the woman with the bags, or the guy who is asleep with the sagging head, or the kid doing laps or the guy to my right talking to himself doing a fox trot.  

I know that this couple will not find their daughter, and I am chilled and perspiring because I know why.  And then, I wonder if I will have the courage to do anything about it.


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