TRAVEL PORTRAIT 91: December 2, 2021

Out of the Wilderness [listen]
[one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | part nine | ten | eleven | twelve | thirteen]

A pre-Covid continuation of a fictional story.


The auditorium doors swung outwards into the hallway. The balcony audience descended the staircases that led to the lobby. Frank proceeded down the final flight while trying to scan the area for Brian and Celia. Recognizing that there was an abundance of faces in the crowd, Frank stood on the last step above the tiled floor and focused his gaze on a right-diagonal hoping that his peripheral vision would catch a glimpse of the two if not seen directly.

"Sir, sir—are you looking for the restroom," asked an usher, who advised Frank to keep moving as there were more people cascading into the lobby. Alternatively, he was directed to visit, "Perhaps the concession stand." The one way conversation concluded with a, "Thank you, sir."

Frank acknowledged that he was an obstruction impeding the flow of guests. With unease he veered within the crowded confines trying not to exaggerate the sensation.

Brian and Celia were standing near the concession stand. She was agitated that her uncle was checking his text messages from his loving partner, Jeremy. Brian typed fervently. Celia huffed, wishing that she never offered him the spare ticket. Not wanting to feel like a tagalong, she tried to distract him from his digital engagement.

Trying to be equally indifferent, she asked while looking at email on her mobile, "You don't see Frank, do you?"

Brian shot his niece a glance of disapproval before focusing back to the task at hand, then spluttered, "I'm not worried," and began thumbing letters again.

"Another spat," she ventriloquized through her gnashed teeth as saliva pooled beneath her tongue.

Brian looked up from his phone audibly distracted, albeit oblivious to the snide comment.

Celia sensed that she was being watched, and thought Frank had spotted them. She caught a side-eye once-over from a similarly aged woman who was chatting with her companion. The woman's left index finger and thumb buttressed her cheek and propped her chin in such a manner that prevented her face from turning. The glance, for some reason, made Celia self-conscious about the appearance that she was with an "older man" who showed her little if any interest at all.

As if intently reading a book, Celia held the mobile to her nose in an attempt to distract herself from the enticing iris. So not to look like a bookworm, she released one grip allowing an arm to relax. Fisted, Celia rubbed her thumb on the retracted forefinger. Quickly becoming cognizant of her pitiful tiny violin performance, she rotated her torso slightly trying to dismiss the non-verbal incitation that implied a jeer. The woman, observing Celia's modest recoil, moved her fingers from face to neck, and fluttered a prominent wedding ring. Slowly she puckered an affectionate air kiss, but instead smooched her trophy on the corner of his lips ensuring that Celia could witness the whisper in his ear and view his gleaming teeth when she leaned back to further entrance him. She stoked his arm; his hands hovered above her hips.

Celia jabbed Brian with her elbow and snapped, "he must be in a real tizzy, don't you think?"

"Texting is so lame. I need to call him."

Brian asked her to stay alert for Frank.

"Get him a drink or something. I'll be right back. Thanks."

Her brow peaked then furrowed as Celia confirmed the request with a bouncing nod. She started to think how to scuttle, "This pseudo business deal," while continuing the machination to end Brian's relationship with Jeremy.

Frank caught sight of Brian with phone, talking, walking towards the doors that exited to the street. He tracked the path back and saw Celia standing there smiling (happily disgruntled).

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Copyright © 2021 by Edward K. Brown II, All Rights Reserved.