Jet Lag (intro excerpt)

The counter is still, solid under constant battery; plastic, mouse grey trays murmur silent apologies as they slam into the stainless steel surface, one after another. They pass through a tunnel and are stacked at the end of the line, sometimes by passengers, occasionally by TSA personnel. In the next aisle, a metal detector screams. The security guard beckons for a sweaty, alarmed man to step back and turn out his pockets. At first, the man instinctively raises his hands in protest, but he quickly falls into compliance upon seeing the questioning look on the guard's face. The guard tries to hasten the standard procedure, so the man can catch whatever flight he is very obviously late for. He confiscates the offending material, a fancy pen light forgotten in the man's pocket, examines it, and rushes him forward with directions to his departure gate.

The clock reads 22:46.

Fourteen seconds later, the clock still reads 22:46, and a young woman walks through a door to the left of the three open queues, where an elderly guard sits, half asleep. She prods the man's arm, lightly.
"Evening, miss," he sputters, reorienting himself. She doesn't reply, granting him only a nod of acknowledgement and a slight smile, setting her small suitcase on the conveyor belt.

"Rachel!" He exclaims, thinking he has recognized her. He continues, without even glancing at the screen. "How are the kids?"
"Good," she lies.
"Good," he echoes in response. The woman retrieves her luggage and the man dozes off again, contentedly.

The woman's name is not Rachel, but Yvonne. She entertains herself with the idea of children as she walks through the emptying concourse, but then drops the thought. Hard. Me? Kids? Not a chance. At least, not now. Not two months shy of her 21st birthday. She was supposed to meet her mom at the Starbucks in front of Gate 36 before boarding her red-eye to VYR, but Laurel's flight from LAX had been delayed. Tough luck, m'dear, reads the text her Android phone has just received. The last time she saw her mom in person was two weeks ago, when Laurel arrived out of the blue at her condo in Burnaby. She'd demanded to know why Yvonne was packing up again, for the third time in a year, for it was not yet May. Like usual, Laurel held a handful of letters, sent to her address in Toronto.

This is my chance, Yvonne thinks for the 4th time this year. This is my chance to get it right.

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