Homecoming by Ariel Tachna

April 27, 2010

Homecoming

The sun was warm on Ted’s face even with the tinted windows and the air conditioning in the airport terminal. He’d begged and pleaded to be allowed to come through security to meet this particular plane. His friend’s injury had finally been what tipped the scales in his favor. Les couldn’t walk so he couldn’t carry his bag on crutches. The argument wouldn’t have worked on a larger airport but Lexington was small enough and Southern enough to bend the rules for a sob story about a man who just lost his leg and needed help adjusting to his new life.

It was all true. It just wasn’t the whole truth. The whole truth was that Ted couldn’t wait a moment longer to see his friend. They’d kept in touch the entire time Les was gone, but Ted had come to realize it was far more than friendship that bound them together. Thus the flowers in his hand, the stems crushed by his nervous grip. Les had said repeatedly that he wouldn’t have made it without Ted’s unwavering support so Ted hoped maybe Les felt the same way. It had taken his friend nearly dying, though, to give him the courage to do more than dream.

The plane taxied into place, the jet way moving into position. Ted told himself Les would be the last one out because he’d need a wheelchair, but that didn’t stop him from hovering at the entrance to the jet way, just in case.

The departing passengers streamed past Ted, smiling as they saw the flowers in his hand. He figured they were wondering who the lucky girl was. Ted only hoped Les would consider himself a lucky guy. Then Les was there in front of him, hobbling on crutches but under his own power. Ted held out the flowers, hope shining on his face.

“What are you doing here?” Les asked, laughing.

Ted took a deep breath and leaned forward, brushing his lips over Les’s. This was the moment of truth. Les would either kiss him back or deck him.

Les kissed him back.

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