Dawn has broken. The early morning sunrays filter through the bedroom window shutters and bathe the bed they both laid still with the a/c running, holding the room temperature at a comfortable seventy two degrees Fahrenheit with the outdoor late July temperature already exceeding eighty. This very special day pregnant with expectation had finally arrived. It will not be just another mundane, typical, uneventful kind of day. Charles had for years longed for this day which would bring him a long deferred sense of renewal, a new chapter in this life journey. He had invested enormous emotional capital to see it manifest. He had spoken of his hopes to his wife Mercédès who had heard him reminisce many times of his childhood friend. She could discern an unmistakable air of contentment etched on Charles’ face, this new day that told yet another tale as she stood before the electric stove, a pot of old fashioned Quaker oat soaked in lactose free reduced fat milk percolating from the heat set on low they will both eat for breakfast.
The plane from LaGuardia had landed ahead of flight 1542 and passengers three abreast were filing out at a brisk pace. Charles' eyes were fixated on the arrival board to verify if any changes were posted indicating the arrival had been prematurely announced. He asked his wife to reconfirm the time at the ticket counter. Ten minutes elapsed before the next group of passengers began their exit. He was hopeful the wait was over. Charles' eyes scanned the faces one by one, missing no one, looking for a subtle sign, testing his memory, and then at a distance of approximately one hundred feet, his eyes saw a male figure of medium height, rather slim in stature tilting his head to the left as if to adjust his line of sight to better focus. Charles immediately felt a bolt of energy coursing across the distance. He had no doubt. Turning to his wife he said,
“This is Jacques…here he comes…I’m sure, but…he’s not alone.”
A slightly taller woman was with him matching his every step. It was indeed his long lost friend making his way toward him, accelerating each succeeding step, but betraying a slight limp that made his walk almost painful to watch. Charles later found out that Jacques had nearly lost his life in an automobile accident years ago in their native land. While stepping out of his car, he neglected to close the door and a car swerved to avoid the impact barely touching it but sending the door hurtling against his left leg. He also learned that his good friend, by his own admission, had become a heavy drinker that triggered several barroom brawls. The police were often called to douse the tempers. However, trapped in his stupor, he challenged the men in brown uniforms by uttering the risky and unthinkable for people living under a savage, oppressive regime: "Abas Duvalier!!!" He had been at the receiving end of a severe beating and dragged to jail, sharing a dirty, smelly cell with hardcore criminals. He might have been forgotten were it not for an officer who recognized the name and knew his father. He was let out of that dungeon and spared an uncertain fate commonly preceded by a permanent disappearance or the recovery by chance of a decomposed body...