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“JFK International Airport please!” Miss Saine exclaimed, her mind brewing with the countless places she could visit and the numerous wonders she could see. “Take me to the best airline!” her words slurred together very slightly.
The cab driver, who interacted with such hopefuls nearly every day, paid little attention to her speech impediment and exhaled deeply. He frowned at the foreboding clouds.
Ignoring the driver’s exaggerated sighs, Jane began rattling.
“This is my first time away from home you see! My Bubby and nanny never let me go all by myself. Bubby always said someone or something would damage my precious mind. One time, I crossed the street by myself. I got quite the spanking when we got home. Bubby said that a car could have squashed me and my mind! I do love her but she can just be so nonsensical at times.”
The muted yellow cab drove by a run-down day care.
The cab driver smirked. The young woman must have been at least 35, and she had never left home? He, without doubt, found it slightly odd, but he had driven convicted criminals and escaped mental patients in the past; this cab driver could withstand anyone or anything, as long as they gave him his damn money.
“Did you ever own a pet bird?” Jane asked her driver.
Startled by the unusual question, the cab driver grunted in response.
“Well? Did ya?”
“I held a parrot on my shoulder once when I was in Florida.” The cab driver mumbled. He didn’t much like lying to the girl but he couldn’t bear to crush the girl’s high spirits.
Automatically he felt as though he had given the wrong answer. Jane’s eyes, as gray as that day’s sky, pierced the back of the driver’s head as the two individuals sat in silence.
A few minutes had passed when Jane finally responded, “Was it chained to something?”
“I… well… yes, I suppose it was.” The cab driver lied comfortably in all situations, yet something about lying to this girl bothered him. Never in his twenty years of driving a cab in New York City had the man encountered a girl with such curious questions. Never in his twenty years of driving a cab in New York City had the man conversed with a passenger for an extended period of time. Never in his twenty years of driving a cab in New York City had the man felt transparent to a girl’s striking eyes.
They drove by the local insane asylum.
“My Bubby would always yell at me if I tried to open my canary’s cage door. She said it would fly into a wall and hurt itself or maybe ‘leave a gift’ for us on the couch. I’m not quite sure what she meant by that. But I loved my canary; her name was Star and she had these odd, thin, blue and red stripes under her wings.” The girl giggled.
A smile crept up on the cab driver. He couldn’t remember the last time he smiled. A ray of sun peered from behind a voluptuous cloud; the cab driver basked in its warmth, smiling all the while. The girl’s clear, glowing eyes reflected off the cloudy rear view mirror, burning a hole with blue fire in the cab drivers head. It seemed that the now blue sky had turned the girl’s eyes a bright shade of blue. Perhaps it was the other way around.
“This morning, right before I met you actually, I opened my canary’s cage door. She made the happiest peep ever! I’m happy that was the final thing I heard before I left home for my travels. I’m just so excited to fly!”
In that moment, Jane struggled to articulate her sentence; she fought with her tongue. But the driver attributed this to her speech impediment.
The cab pulled up to terminal A.
“Sorry, I didn’t catch the airline you were flying,” said the cab driver.
“Take me to the one which flies the tallest in the sky.” The joy in her voice brought another smile to the drivers face.
He remained at terminal A, unsure of where to take her. “They all fly at the same height.”
“But I fly higher than all those planes.”
Jane handed the driver a 100-dollar bill.
“The ride lasted for merely 20 minutes ma’am. This is excess…”
“Thank you,” Jane interrupted him,” thank you for giving me a chance to let Liberty out.”
She stumbled out of the cab. The cab driver kept smiling.