Stan stayed in his seat on the 737 until the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign went off. Then he stood, reached up and grabbed his carry-on from the overhead bin. He waited patiently as his fellow passengers moved slowly toward the exit and he fell in line right behind them. Puerto Vallarta, at last – he and Violet had been planning this holiday forever; at least it seemed like it had been forever, and now they were finally here.
Violet waved at him from the cockpit, “I’ll meet you in the terminal, Stan,” she called smiling as she collected her bag of charts and shrugged on her flight jacket. He paused and watched as she tucked her flight cap under her arm. She was in her element, ever the professional. A tap on his shoulder brought him back to reality and the guy behind him raised his chin in the international sign for ‘keep it moving, buddy’.
“Sorry,” Stan mumbled under his breath as he headed on down the jetway.
Stan found his way to the luggage carousel and waited for his bags. He savoured the heat and humidity that enfolded him in these tropical latitudes. His mind wandered. He thought about Violet and how lucky he was to have found her. He loved the way that her long blonde tresses framed her face and the wisps that would find their way clear even when she had her hair pinned up beneath her flight cap; always so confident, so self assured. When Violet set her mind on something she would have. That was what had happened to him. He had first seen her at the Four Seasons, near the airport in Minneapolis. He had gone east to visit his sister, Kathleen and her husband, Kent. They had dropped him at the hotel the night before his scheduled morning departure. Violet was in the restaurant. She had bought his dinner, and they had ended the evening tangled up together with the sheets in her hotel room. She was his pilot on the flight back to Coeur d’Alene and they exchanged phone numbers.
Stan chased Violet. Violet pursued Stanley. She was aggressive, she was a huntress. Violet would send flowers to Stanley almost daily and soon she had him hooked. She asked him to marry her on Valentine’s Day at The Hindquarter Steak House in Fort Worth.
He said yes and they were wed in early March and moved to her place just outside of Dallas.
The first incident happened on Memorial Day that same year but it was his fault.
He understood that.
She had explained it to him and he understood. He accepted it, and it really hadn’t been that bad. He had to take less than a week off work, that first time, for the swelling to go down. She, over the rest of the year, taught him the finer points of using makeup to cover the bruises and abrasions.
She always apologized.
He never gave her any other options.
She loved him.
He loved her.
He would do anything for her.
That first Saturday in Mexico they went hiking in the jungle – part of a group. Stan and Violet lagged behind a bit, holding hands, enjoying the scenery, enjoying one another. They must not have heard the guide when he admonished all of them to stay well back from the cliff face. They must not have heard that the edge was unstable.
Sorry this took a long time to get here. Sorry it’s kinda dark. Thanks for the prompt, Ms. Rose.