Two days after I graduated from high school in ’95, I couldn’t wait to hightail it out of our small bumkin town and I did so, leaving to live for the summer with my father and his wife in Montreal. As I arrived at Montreal’s Dorval airport my father was late for some reason or another, I can’t remember for sure why and I’m sure he wouldn’t either. This meant that I was standing alone, by myself at the carousal as my bags were virtually the last ones coming off the plane. To this day I don’t remember anyone else still waiting for their bags as I was. This wasn’t particularly bothersome as more often that not I’m just as happy alone as I am in the company of others if not more so, but it did lead to this encounter.
A lady somewhere in her 40’s accompanied by a gentleman probably 15 years older than she approached me and queried, “Alexander?”
At this point I was thinking that my father couldn’t make it to get me and had sent this lady to pick me up. Her having used the name Alexander I thought perhaps that she didn’t know that that wasn’t my actual name and was just rather formal.
“Sandy.” I replied back acknowledging her formal address. She smiled as if gazing upon a long lost son.
The smile wasn’t all she had for me and proceeded to embrace me in a hug that was incredibly awkward. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi…why am I getting aroused? Maybe she was just really good at giving strangers hugs, I wasn’t sure.
She did eventually release me at which point I was introduced her friend and then asked if I had all of my bags. Yup I was ready to go.
No mention of my father up to this point so I asked if my father had sent them to pick me up.
One of them replied, “Your father?”
“Barry?” I questioned.
The lady had a poker face of confusion if there ever was one written over her from her forehead to her toes. Her face grew longer and more confused as the seconds ticked by.
18 years ago she had given up her son Alexander for adoption and had come to the Airport to meet with him for the first time since. As there were no other people waiting for bags in the carousal area I can’t imagine the feelings and thoughts that that woman must have been going through at this point.
I don’t remember much more about the encounter and my father arrived very shortly afterward and away we went. I’ve always wondered what happened to Alexander. Was he in another part of the airport waiting or using the phone? Did he miss his connecting flight? Did he stand up the woman who he came into the world from and hadn’t seen him in his whole life? Ill never know.
Later that summer as I was eating a less than hearty bowl of carrot soup at my fathers apartment I wondered how things would have played out if I had gone along for the ride, after all the woman and man as were dressed to the nines. For the right price, I could be Alexander.