The flight attendant’s voice crackled over the loudspeaker, jolting Mitch from his sleep.
“Ladies and gentleman, if you’ll notice the pilot has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign. If you could please return to your seats as we begin our descent. Thank you.”
Mitch smacked his lips and returned his head to its original resting place on the window. The flight from Chicago, even while asleep, seemed to take ages and fighting off a slight hangover from the night before didn’t make the situation any better. Mitch had hoped downing the two cups of burnt coffee from the kiosk in O’Hare would help alleviate the headache that was throbbing behind his eyes, but all it did was make him airsick. His eyes began to flutter shut for the final hour of his flight when the attendant’s rather nasally voice filled the cabin again.
“God damn it, is this really necessary?” Mitch muttered under his breath. He closed his eyes at the chorus of gasps and occasional clicking of a camera. The setting sun casted a brilliant orange glow on the snow-capped slopes of Mt. Hood, the traditional welcoming committee for those flying into Portland from the East. Have none of these idiots seen a mountain before? Mitch wondered, making no effort to hide the sneer on his face. The wings of the plane grazed through the air above the suburbs of Portland, giving a bird’s eye view of the throngs of cars bustling on the interstates and highways below them. The pilot’s deep voice came over the speaker as the wheels touched down onto the runway.
“Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Portland International Airport. Local time is 6:46 pm and it looks like you have a beautiful clear evening. We thank you for flying Delta Airlines and hope you fly with us again soon. Thank you.”
The crazed rush for overhead carry-ons ensued and Mitch was stuck in his window seat near the fuselage. He hated crowds more than anything, and being stuck on a stuffy airplane didn’t help to improve his mood. Another ten minutes passed before Mitch was finally able to stretch his legs after the long flight from Chicago. Mitch disliked planes for many reasons, mostly for the fact they didn't necessarily accommodate for people of his stature. Mitch towered a little over six feet tall and sported a build similar to a lifter. A streamlined mat of black hair topped his head, waving lazily over his piercing blue eyes. His square jaw led down to a pair of broad shoulders and equally broad waist. He wasn’t extremely muscular; not even particularly bulky, just stocky. However, the years of university track created two lean and muscular legs, which seemed out of proportion with the rest of his body.
Mitch rose from his seat to get his bag from the overhead compartment, but not before slamming his forehead into the compartment door above him. Cursing and rubbing his forehead, he slung his bag over his shoulder and grabbed his laptop briefcase before giving a snide look towards the cheerful flight attendants wishing everyone safe travels. He walked up the jetway, still cursing about hitting his forehead until he finally emerged into the terminal. After fighting the crowd at baggage claim and, much to his dismay, several crying babies, Mitch couldn’t wait to get outside. He walked out the revolving doors into the cool wet air. A slight drizzle was falling, driving Mitch to the benches against the walls of the terminal. He took a seat on a bench near the door and watched the seemingly endless stream of taxis and buses pick up passengers from the terminals. He abruptly pulled his phone form his pocket to check the time.
“7:45. She should be here by now,” he muttered with a tinge of annoyance as he checked his Facebook. Most of his friends back in New York were just getting their nights started, being sure to post photos and statuses expressing their excitement. “Good to see they miss me. Bastards.” Mitch laughed disdainfully. It wasn’t fair that Mitch was stuck outside an airport across the country while his friends were having the time of their lives in New York.
“Mitch! Mitch, honey, is that you?” echoed through the air. Mitch tore his attention away from his phone just in time to see his mother run across the street to the bench he was sitting at. His mother, Diana, was significantly shorter than her son. Mitch had to completely bend at the waist in order to give his mother the hug that she demanded he give her.
“Look at you! Almost a year since we last saw you and you already look so different! What is that? Is that a goatee? Oh Mitchell, you’re so handsome!” Diana squealed, clapping her hands together.
“Mom, really, stop.” Mitch said, blushing slightly. Even at 8 pm the airport was still buzzing with people; people who could hear every word his mother was saying.
“Oh, that’s adorable. A big, strong 24 year old man still gets embarrassed around his mother. I could always do that thing you loved when you were little. What was it again...” She put her chin between her thumb and index finger, deep in thought. “Oh! That’s right. You always loved it when I would rub my nose against yours like a rabbit. You’d think it was the greatest thing in the world!” Mitch glanced around him, making sure nobody was listening.
“Okay, mom. I get it, you’re in charge.” He submitted. Diane looked him warmly from behind her purple rimmed glasses.
“That’s right! Don’t forget it. Or I might have to embarrass you in public again. Now here, let me help you with your bags.” She scurried forward and grabbed his laptop case from his hands. She looked behind Mitch, puzzled. “Only one suitcase? I thought you said you were moving your apartment?”
“Mom, I lived in Queens and made coffee for Wall Street douchebags. I didn’t exactly have a lot to bring back.” Mitch sighed. “Besides, I figured the less I bring the better. It’s already going to be a tight squeeze having your 24 year old son living with you again.”
Diana crinkled her eyebrow. “Now I don’t want to hear any of that talk. You’re young and down on your luck a bit,” placing her hands sternly on her hips before continuing, “it’s not a life sentence, you have plenty of time. Now help me put your bags in the car before I leave you at the airport for the night.” Mitch couldn’t help but smile at the sight of his petite mother dragging a full size suitcase to her old Subaru. Mitch put his things in the back and climbed into the front seat. Diana buckled her belt and fired up the ignition before making one last wise crack. “I’d let you drive, but God forbid I say you’re a good driver. You might get embarrassed and crash the car.”