Six o’clock always comes too early. Kay had set the alarm for it, but she was awake five minutes before, nervous that she would not meet the seven forty-five train, the last morning train into Vancouver. She padded about doing her morning ablutions, brushing her teeth, combing her hair, slipping into the clothing that she had laid out the night before.
It was alway wise for Kay to set everything out the night before because her brain did not start working until ten, and by that time, she would already be in Vancouver.
At The Station in Vancouver, she found a coffee bar and ordered up a large sized misto, then sat watching the commuters stream from the train exit doors towards the street exit. Every few minutes, another train would arrive. Crowded, jostling people would obscure her view until, suddenly, there were only one or two people sauntering by, not concerned with being anywhere on time, not going anywhere special. Like Kay, for the next hour.
She took up an abandoned paper and worked the Sudoku then the crossword. Her camera lay on the table, the shoulder strap curled around her right arm. It was a poor area of town with druggies, not always recognizable. A good camera would give them a few hits in trade. It was wise to hang on to it against such an eventuality.
Just before ten, Kay rose, chucked her cup and newspaper, loaded her overnight bag onto her shoulder, lifted the hidden handle to her valise and began to roll it towards the direction of the Art Gallery. Her old time friends – Degas, Monet, Manet, Fantin Latour, Val Jean, Pissaro,Toulouse Lautrec and others of their era were showing their drawings. It was a Gallery Blockbuster, borrowed from the Quai d’Orsay Museum in Paris, a rare thing for Vancouver, halfway around the world.
At noon, Kay left the gallery, sated with visions of Parisians and their environs, to head back to The Station and the Canada Line to the airport. At the Main airport terminal, she waited for the Shuttle bus, sitting on the bench beside a thin man smoking a cigarette, engrossed in his newspaper.
When she boarded, the thin man helped her with her valise, lifting the heavy red case with ease onto the back of the Shuttle Bus to the South Terminal. And then at two, the plane to Trail was boarding, for it was in Trail that Lizbet would pick her up.
Lizbet was moving. After thirty seven years in her small community, she was leaving to settle in retirement on the coast near Parksville. Kay was coming to help her close up the house and to pack.
It was odd, thought Kay, that there was no security for these smaller airports. People lined up just like they used to in the ‘Sixties, walked through the doors and across the tarmac to the airplane, walked up rickety steps to the cabin and bent double going down the aisle to a seat of one’s choice. It felt archaic.
But the thought did not actually take form until, landing in Trail, everyone walked back down the rickety steps to the landing strip asphalt and walked to the exit gate.
It was a bright but cloud-covered day. There, not fifteen feet away behind a three foot chain link fence with no other sign of security, was Lizbet and her dog Heidi. They were standing in an unmown patch of grass waiting with the others for the passengers to get their baggage and come out to them, ”
There was Heidi dog wriggling her whole body, furiously waving her tail, running in short circles at the end of her leash, emitting a high pitched squeal of delight at the sight of Kay.
“Hello!” said Kay, greeting Lizbet, then nodding to the dog who was trying to leap up to give Kay a dog’s kiss, “She remembers me!
“Ah yes, ” Lizbet replied, “She has a fabulous memory for people.”
And off they went to the car to continue on to Lizbet’s home.
“Do you realize,” said Kay, “how special that is? How unusual now, to have an airport with no need for major security, like this one, in Trail?”
“It gives you an odd feeling, of having found the original sense of security – that everything is right with the world here. Trusting, Safe. Right with the world.