Heathrow Airport –
Thursday, 2:16 pm, July 12, 2012
The bustle and commotion outside the airport terminal continue unceasingly, as McCail will wait, for over twenty-five minutes, until his wife returns from the john.
He is a foreigner in a new country, which is full of odd people and bothersome noises. Five-minutes pass and his energy begin to sap. In the background, a large sweeper glides past, expelling dust rather than removing it.
“What on earth is taking her so long?”
He complains as a passersby give him a disconcerted glance before hurrying on. A sneeze to rival Krakatoa erupting, explodes from his nose and mouth stirring a few jet-lagged travellers from their stupor to wonder: ‘What was that?’
McCail stands in the very same spot that others before him have done, dressed in cargo shorts, sandals and a mild, but authentic Hawaiian shirt; the pocket matches in with the shirt’s pattern.
A knee-high retaining wall running to forty feet, serves as a seat, as he lowers his rump onto a half-foot section. To his relief, its stones fit his nether shape precisely and are surprisingly comfortable. A woman, all of six-foot-three, his height, sits to one side of him. Two other rumps, belonging to men half his age, sit ten-feet to his right. They too appear to be waiting for someone.
As a lone stranger in London, he sits waiting helplessly for his wife and the fear that he may be abandoned creeps into his heart. Questions: Where is she? Has something happened to her? I miss her already! Plague his mind.
Putting up with this crap is not an easy task for Ann, yet she knows how to deal with most of his moods; his grumpiness topping the list. Her solution, in a word, is patience, along with a quick kick to his pride now and then. Her love for him never wanes. McCail knows it!
The need for rest gnaws at his bones, either that or comfort. His seeking comfort takes many forms. The one that eases the pain the most, is the comfort brought from a woman. They could fill him with delight, with their: graceful movement, captivating beauty, nurturing nature; that and being breathtakingly distracting.
And so, as the concourse before him is crowded by a high-heeled parade all topped with grace and lace, he busily watches these clinging forms, wholeheartedly supporting women’s rights to be women as they approach and slowly depart, to fill his eyes and those of his two wall-sitting friends. With widening smiles, the three men sit and marvel at this midday show. The six-foot-three woman smiles also!
Only three minutes elapse, when a woman, perhaps forty, struts past this viewing stand. The two other men dispose of her quickly to search for more youthful subjects. McCail, on the other hand, sees the beauty in her manner, with her grace and carriage accenting her womanhood. Her light clothing floats and flutters with the gentle breeze, to reveal, where it is pressed against her graceful curves, a woman of the magnificent structure. Her top is pushed to the limits, almost overflowing.
Built with character and chiselled by the Master’s hands, this wave which walks on land, a perfect ten, carries tsunami credentials. With just the right touch and flare, she moves upon the walkway, displaying her smooth pearl-white skin. Each step creates a symphony of movement throughout her body, set to the rhythm of his thundering heart. Both their eyes meet when they are ten feet apart. He nods, giving her a smile, while she flips him the finger and keeps walking.
“Crap! Where the hell is Ann?”
While walking past him the old bag’s (as he now refers to her in his mind) ankle bracelet slithers off her hairy leg (as he now sees it) unbeknownst to her. Seeing it fall and bending to retrieve it, McCail sighs, “Why me?” then calls out, “Excuse me, Susan!”
This caught her attention back. “Sorry? How do you know my name? Do I know you?”
“Oh no, no! It’s your bracelet. It fell. It has your name on it.” Still embarrassed and shocked by her gesture, McCail holds it outstretched, revealing her name outlined in a blend of rubies and diamonds.
“Oh my goodness, how sweet! I didn’t feel it fall. I must apologize for my behaviour. I’m terribly sorry. A reward of course for your honesty is only fitting and proper.”
“Naw, that’s okay.”
Without listening, she opens her purse and pulls out a wad of cash foreign to McCail’s eyes. The currency for England, he has yet to learn, but he knows enough that a paper band wrapped around a small stack of hundred-pound notes is a bit more than string wrapped around a wheelbarrow filled with pesos. “No, Susan, I don’t want anything.” The firmness in his voice is quickly spat out, swallowing hesitation.
“Sir, I must give you something? The value of this is beyond belief. It’s priceless and precious to me.”
“No. No need.”
Seeing no need to argue she takes matters into her own hands. “Well a kiss, then?”
Susan quickly leans forward, and while planting two ruby lip prints on each cheek, and one rather large plunger-sized kiss to his forehead, her breasts tumble out of their purple bandeau. His eyes are held captive by their magnitude and beauty just inches away; he drools.
“Oh my! You’re blushing! I’ve so embarrassed you!” she quickly adjusts her bra.
“No! No. Not at all,” he says while shifting uncomfortably on the wall’s edge and wiping his chin. “It was a pleasure. Well, I don’t mean that kind of pleasure, but…”
She saves his embarrassment with the touch of her hand. “I know what you meant.” She pauses, uncertain. “There’s a bar close by. Can I buy you a glass of wine?”
“No. No thanks. My wife will be right back. I need to stay put.”
“I’d say your wife’s a lucky woman, judging by your deed.”
“Ann would disagree. No. It’s me who’s the lucky one! She’s something else.”
“You’re from the States, aren’t you?”
“Yes. Ann’s has wanted to come here for a long time. So she’s dragged me along.”
“I hate to travel. I like to have my own pillow under my head, or at least I did.” Remembering his horrible experience in customs, he decided to change the subject. “How about yourself, going someplace?”
“No. I’m just looking for my father. He’s floating around somewhere, which reminds me, I’ll need to get along! Thanks again for the bracelet and about that gesture?”
“Well, I probably deserved it. I must excuse myself as well. I’m beat from the flight. It was the pits.”
“You poor man. Maybe another kiss would help?”
“No, no. My heart can’t take that kind of excitement.”
“Just as you wish.” She turns to leave, then stops and reaches once more into her purse. “Listen, if you find yourself in need of anything, please take my card, and don’t hesitate to call.”
“Thanks. We’re pretty much set, but I’ll take it just in case. Hope you manage to find your father.”
“Actually, I’m the one who’s lost. He gave me instructions, but sadly I became sidetracked.”
They exchange smiles and wave farewell without another word.
McCail follows her movement as she sashays her stuff out of view. With a good deed under his belt, he smiles. Two more minutes pass before mild anxiety sets in again. “Where’s Ann?”
Nearby, ZZ Top blares out and a man in the shadows adjusts the earpiece of his cd player while, he sways about like he was one of the band, a free spirit, uninhibited by his age or surroundings.
His mobile phone rings and dancing and music stops. “Yes. Oh? Right, yes I see him now. No. No there are to be no introductions at this point. I need to hear him speak, okay then we’ll see; right dear. Thanks. So you know where we’re to meet? Good. I’ll see you there.” He folds his mobile way and moves closer to his target.
Meanwhile, standing on the stone wall, like a scout searching for the Northwest Passage, McCail tries to spot Ann’s figure moving amid a churning crowd of confused travellers. “Geez! It’s like a zoo out there. She must have got lost.”
Then something odd occurs. A flow of air beats rhythmically against his chest and the young woman, seated next to him, appears to feel nothing. McCail’s first thought is: ‘So somebody’s finally turned on the air conditioning. Wait a minute! Air conditioning outside, what on earth’s going on?’
The cool air continues to sweep over him. Its source is a mystery. The odd sensation begins to pass through him. When he looks at the tall woman seated next to him, she still looks sweaty and hot. What’s the deal?
Suddenly, a rainbow fills his entire being, like a prism overflowing with light. He gazes down in wonder, studying his hands and turning them over and again. He steps down from the wall. He tilts his head. Something new and strange settles inside him.
He watches his own thoughts cascading to splash against the walls of his mind. But he’s not being swept away by his own thinking; instead, his thoughts pass as he watches. He becomes the observer of his own mind!
‘An out of body experience? A heart attack? No! It can’t be that!’
Mounting the wall, he stands tall, searching for the cause, the reason and at first glance, he sees nothing out of the ordinary, just the milling of the ceaseless crowd. Then ‘Thank you God ‘ enters his mind; an unspoken prayer not made by him? An old man, unnoticed until then, is looking down at McCail’s feet and he steps back and bows. McCail smiles in return and gives a puzzled nod.
Looking over him, McCail continues to search.
A group of Her Majesty’s sailors barge by, possibly on their way to some foreign land. Each of them looks into McCail’s eyes and for no reason salutes. After a dizzying scan of three hundred and sixty degrees, with nothing found, McCail feels compelled to return his attention to the old man.
Upon closer inspection, this man was a gentleman with an aristocratic air. Well-tailored, white trousers drape his legs and fall gracefully to a pair of black and white Oxford bowling shoes. His hair is white and woolly. His eyes bright emerald and contain a depth of unassailable wisdom. They are directed at McCail and he is transfixed.
The umbrella latched over the old man’s forearm is of wood encased in leather, a covering so masterfully done, it would humble any leather smith this side of a thousand years. He sports a colourful hat and wears only one ring as jewellery. A shoulder bag is slung across his chest to rest upon his right hip and his skin, where exposed, is healthy, with stout veins and rippling muscle beneath.
He moves one step closer, almost gliding, and McCail flinches. The crowd is somehow kept at arm’s length as it surges past.
That odd feeling becomes stronger and McCail’s right hand begins to glow. Warmth burrows deep into his forehead and the medallion around his neck grows hotter as the gentleman leans forward and starts to approach. In a clear and resonant voice, he remarks, “That’s a unique piece of jewellery you have there.”
Clutching it tightly, feeling its growing heat, McCail politely responds, “Thanks. It belonged to my father.”
“I know,” whispers the old man and lunges forward and cries, “They call me, Merlin! Daniel was more than a match for his lions. David was without fear, and you, my friend, will be given their strength! Drop by drop, the wisdom of the ages will sing throughout your being!”
With that, McCail falls into his arms and cutting the strings of time, they move into a different dimension!
Once there, the old man steps back and assessed McCail, seeing all his weakness in a flash.
“So you’re, McCail McClarry?” Merlin sighs deeply. “So this is all I’ve got to work with? Oh my. I think I need litres, Father, not drops. Why me, God? Why me?” Raising his arms to the heavens he pronounces, “Well, so be it. Litres it shall be.”
He pauses, drawing on his abundance of powers as pools of passion overflow from his eyes. McCail’s soul bursts into soothing colours as cosmic glue, cosmic energy, weld the two together. McCail’s eyes narrow, and relaxed, his arms drop. A wordless knowing sits perfectly still in the centre of the two.
A single moment hovers between now and then, electric in nature and frozen in time. The complexity of the surrounding atoms becomes simplified and visible to McCail. Magic is consuming the atmosphere, rotating, enabling him to see an apple on all sides at once, if it were presented to him.
“You will be challenged, stripped, and brought to your knees. Being a fool lasts only till you wake. You, my friend, are about to awaken. So learn these lessons I teach you. Listen with an open ear and an open heart, for your past life is at an end with your first tear.”
Goose pimples rise all over McCail’s helpless body, as the old man works him like a puppet.
“Bend backwards, McCail. Now forward, and take your shoes off, exchanging feet. Good.” Merlin clicks his fingers repeatedly, expressing joy. “This might prove to be fun after all.”
Events outside their temporal sphere slow to a crawl.
Merlin wanders from the scope of McCail’s gaze and begins to move about the crowd like a butterfly dancing over a field of flowers; although he is dancing a jig on a bricked walkway under a canopy of cedars. Swirling patterns of small stones edge a crushed granite pathway beyond, where it is surrounded by flowers in the lace shadow cast by a gentle forest. A lavender aura hovers above the old man.
Passing a display of roses, he stops and plucks one of its Victorian blooms, breathing in its essence. He admires the petals’ form, as if for the first time, before shifting his attention upward, into the blue eyes of McCail.
Reaching inside his jacket, he pulls out a blue sphere; small, but glowing. Coruscant with brilliant colours, this crystal ball is hurled towards McCail. It strikes him and beams of pure energy swirl in a vortex around him, shooting off sparks and lights like a firework display.
The man makes a quick departure, moving without casting a shadow into a nearby thicket.
McCail stands seemingly alone in a crowded courtyard, an island unto himself. Waves of people pass by, in another world, and on a different wheel of life, while he glows like a lighthouse.
Now centred with his soul, he stands surrounded by a collection of individuals, while viewing, in advance, their every move, foretold on a wavelength he is able to read. He turns slowly, watching with the eyes of a child.
Warmth cocoons him and gives him rest, while a small seed of strength settles itself into his core. Sensing this glow, a glow he has not felt since childhood, tears flood his eyes as the world passes by carrying luggage.
Ten minutes from its start, it’s gone! The time draws him back within its grasp. The focus and awareness have left him. Panic sets in. Visibly shaken, he waits for Ann.