The Passport

November 18, 2009
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The Passport

The wind is cold in the winter as it whips across his face, and the snow crunches beneath his feet. The Tower of London seems to sparkle in the light of the sun. The Eye continues to spin until he gets dizzy watching it, and his breath looks like smoke as it comes out of his nose and mouth.

Lewis walked quickly into the café, unwrapped his scarf, and took off his hat, revealing his messy comb-over. He took his table and was delighted to see his favorite waitress coming his way, with a notepad, ready to take his order.

“The usual?” she asked, with the smile she always had.

“I think so, but today make it rye,” he replied, “And could I have some tomato soup with that, too?”

“No problem,” she said as she walked away.

He took out the copy of today’s paper and flipped through the pages until he reached the crossword puzzle. He grabbed a pen from his briefcase, and immediately began filling in the answers.

After a few minutes, the waitress came back out with his sandwich and soup.

“Here you go,” she said placing his food in front of him, “Anything else I can get you?”

“Well, I guess I’ll have a cappuccino, half foam, no sugar.”

“Alright, it’ll be right out,” she said.

“Thanks,” he replied.

Lewis began eating his sandwich, turkey, bacon, provolone, and horseradish. It was his favorite. He slurped his soup and enjoyed watching the little children running around outside. They were off school for Christmas break.

The waitress came back out with his coffee and handed it to him gently.

“There’s your coffee,” she said.

As she walked away, Lewis happened to look down at his watch. Just then he realized he was late. He got up in a fluster, knocking over his coffee, and dug through his pocket for money. He only had a twenty, so he put it on the table and took off out the door. He waved his arms like a mad man at the next taxi passing by, but watched as it sped past carrying a different customer. He cursed to himself quietly; he couldn’t be late. The next taxi pulled over, and Lewis swung open the door and jumped in.

“Where you headed?” asked the taxi driver.

“8th and 12th,” Lewis said back.

He couldn’t help but notice the smell of cigarettes and ginger ale; it made him queasy just thinking about it.

They drove in silence for five minutes, and Lewis was constantly checking his watch. When they arrived at Lewis’s house, Lewis asked, “Will you wait for just five seconds?”

“Yah, whatever,” answered the driver, half-heartedly.

Lewis ran into his apartment, and grabbed his bag from his creaky bed. He snatched his passport from the table, stuck it in his back pocket, and took off out the door. When he got back down stairs the taxi was nowhere to be seen. Again, Lewis started swearing to himself. He knew that almost no taxi drove down this road, so he would have to walk almost a mile back to the main strip. He took off at a brisk pace down the sidewalk. After about half a mile Lewis bent down to tie his shoe, and a homeless man walked up to him and asked for some change. He smelled of whiskey and urine, and was very dirty.
“Sorry,” Lewis said cautioning away from the man, “I have to get going.”
Lewis began walking again, looking back every once and a while. When he finally reached the main road he called down another taxi.
“To the airport,” Lewis exclaimed.
“No problem” the cab driver answered.
It was a short drive to the airport, only a few miles, but Lewis was still running late. When he arrived at Heathrow it was total mayhem. A woman had lost her child and was sobbing hysterically, and a man who had supposedly had a knife was being restrained by security, yelling and screaming. On top of all this it was Christmas, the busiest time of the year.
Lewis made his way through the crowd, dodging and weaving like a fox. He made it to the bag check-in and waited in line for twenty minutes. After that he went to the security line, which seemed like it went on forever.
He was in line for almost an hour when he managed to weasel his way to a conveyer belt. He took off his shoes and put all his change in a bin, along with his belt and ring.
“Passport and registration please,” asked the man in the uniform.
“One second,” Lewis replied.
He dug through his backpack until he found his registration. But, he couldn’t seem to find his passport.
“Sorry,” said the man, “No passport, no ride.”
Lewis couldn’t believe it; he sat down and put his hand in his head. He had waited all year to go and visit his family in New York. He was close to tears when a familiar face walked up to him. It was the homeless man, and with him the passport.
“I think you dropped something,” he said, handing Lewis the passport.
“Oh my, thank you so much how can I repay you?”
“Go and catch your flight, and the next time we meet you can think of something,” the homeless man answered.
“Thank you again,” Lewis said in awe.
“Hurry, go.”
And that is what he did. Lewis caught his plane and had the time of his life, but he never did see that homeless man again.

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