Twenty-Four: Guarantees

Jet and I were quiet all the way to El Segundo. The pirate punk radio station we usually had on in his car didn't have a frequency strong enough to be picked up ten miles of Los Angeles. The sound of the old Datsun's wheels grinding against the freeway asphalt was our only tune. Thoughts grew heavier in my mind as we drew closer to the airport, negativity swirling around my cerebrum. When we reached Century Boulevard and the large metal LAX letters came into view my stomach began to feel queasy.

I pulled out my ticket and passport for identification, readying it for boarding time. Jet and I walked into the airport and checked me in. I only had my carry on; we were allowed two suitcases each, but Dad and I had one each (the essentials only, the rest would be with the moving truck later that week), so my parents had already checked in my bag.

Jet and I found the escalator that led to Departures on the second floor. Silently, we walked with hands intertwined to my gate. I spotted my parents immediately, sitting right by the jetbridge, waiting to be called, and probably freaking out about when I'd arrive.

The boyfriend and I chose a spot about 50 yards away, beside the large panel windows where we could see the airplanes lifting off.

"Here we are." Jet spoke shortly.

My voice was quiet. 'This is it. Right here, right now."

He used a finger under my chin to lift my jaw. "Can I get a smile from the beautiful girl?"

I forced the corners of my mouth upward.

"This is when everything gets good, Kaitlin," he clarified. "Don't be sad."

I sighed. "I'm leaving the most amazing person I've ever met."

He wrapped his arms around me. "I'm really gonna miss you."

"I'll miss you more than I can say," I returned.

Pulling back, he looked at me with some sadness in his eyes. "Your mother is looking over here and she doesn't look very pleased."

"Forget her," I shrugged it off. "She won't come over here. Confronting you and trying to tell you how horrible a person she thinks you are is not something she wishes to accomplish in this lifetime."

"My God," he mumbled. "She has daggers in her eyes."

"Mm," I grunted. "And to think I have to sit next to that for the next six hours."

I gave him a skeptical look that he returned, and we both laughed.

"You've got room in your bag, right?" He asked suddenly.

I smirked. "You gonna jump in and move to the big apple with me?"

He shook his head. "I have some stuff for you."

Jet shrugged off his backpack and unzipped the biggest pouch. It looked full, from what I could tell. He pulled out a small frame, the very same picture I'd seen before we left the apartment in the display panel.

"The best picture we ever took together." He held it out to me.

I took it and moved my fingers over the groves in the outside frame before undoing the hook on my bag and carefully placing it in.

An airline receptionist got on the speaker and told everyone that the plane would begin boarding. I kept my composure though, knowing that the final boarding call would not be for at least another fifteen minutes.

Jet moved one hand to the bottom of his bag and loosened the next items from the pack, slowly inching them out. There were two records clamped together. The one facing me read Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols. I grinned.

"For your knowledge of the best band to ever happen in punk rock," he said cheerfully. "Since I know you're going to spend a lot of time at CBGB."

I had no idea how I would fit those into my bag. For the moment, I just tucked them under my elbow.

The person announced that they were seating passengers in my row. My stomach kicked and twisted but still I didn't move or begin to freak out that time was almost up.

The next thing Jet pulled out was a small patch, The Germs, emblazed with their blue circle logo. "To be a lexicon devil. To be a true punk rock princess."

Then he pulled out a small rolled up poster. He unraveled it and revealed Elton John with huge bug-eye sunglasses. It made me titter. "When you feel like a tiny dancer."

"This stuff is wonderful," I proclaimed as I somehow managed to make it all fit into my bag.

"There's one more." Jet wasn't finished yet.

He took one more thing from his backpack. It was half the size of a piece of paper, an inch thick, and wrapped in yellowing Manila paper. "This one, I want you to open after you've left…on the plane."

"'Kay," I nodded my head.

It coincided with the speakerphone again.

"This is the final boarding call for flight UA 352 to New York. All passengers who have not yet boarded should make their way to the gate. The doors will be closing in five minutes."

I scoffed. "That's so nice of them."

Jet's tone of voice was void of bitter sarcasm. "It's time for you to go."

I gulped and looked into his eyes. "I…I…"

My sentence couldn't be finished. I looked around us. The chairs once occupied were completely void of anything but air. My chest got tighter. I bit my lip as it trembled with the rest of my body. I was clenching all the emotions willing to break loose. I promised Jet I would shed no tears when I left.

He smiled, but now it was sad. "You are my something real. Thank you for going through the last two months with me."

Nothing else he could have said would have meant more to me.

"You are the best thing that's ever happened to me." I swallowed back a sob coming on. "The most valuable things I learned this spring are from you."

He grabbed hold of my arms. "Goodbye, Kaitlin."

"Goodbye, Jet," I replied.

For the last time, Jet pulled me closer to him and moved his arms around me. He crushed his lips on mine and kissed me deeply, setting off the fireworks in my stomach like he always had.

He nodded at me without any more words.

I forced my hand out of his and walked toward the gate before I found myself not strong enough to do it on my own. I glanced back at him a final time before stepping onto the jetbridge. He was still nodding at me with confidence, assurance, and encouragement.

Using all the strength I had, holding back the sobs building up in my throat, I was able to nod back. I rushed into the bridge and let out the energy in my throat in large gasps of air, instead of sobs.

I don't remember much about reaching the plane entrance, or finding my seat, or whether or not my mom was entirely pissed off at me as we took off. The thing I recall most is sitting back in my seat and seeing Jet in my mind, confidence in his eyes for me. It was how I would hold him in my mind eternally.

My seatbelt was the first off when the overhead light declared it permissible. I grabbed my bag and reached in for the wrapped present from Jet I had yet to see. I tore the Manila off quickly, encountering first a note:

Though you can't take me with you, please remember me.

Forever,

Jet

In a simple one-inch thick frame was a single flower, a bird of the paradise, flattened into the glass. A symbol of our whole relationship.

Finally, a tear escaped my eye, sliding freely down my cheek. Because I promised Jet I wouldn't cry at the airport, but I made no guarantees about the sky.


Yay! FINITO! I finished Jet & Kaitlin's story. Good times, good times.

I was desperately trying to figure out what airport security was like in 1979. 'Cause I know that back in the day you could still get to the actual departures area right before the gate (remember movies/TV shows when that was still possible?), I'm just not sure how many years back that was. I couldn't find anything. Not on wikipedia, not on Yahoo!, not through Google search. So I gave up and decided that in 1979 Jet could still do that. Cool? Cool.

I also wanted to know how long the metal LAX letters (you should have seen this in movies, but if you haven't, Wikipedia the term "LAX" and scroll down to content 3, Ground Transportation, and voila on the right side you see what I'm talking about) have been like that and again, couldn't find anything. People obviously don't care much about airports on the internet.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU everyone who left me a review. You won't know how much I appreciated your kind comments. Ever. I'm really thankful and really glad that you enjoyed the story. Is the ending too disappointing for you? I apologize if it is but for me, there was just no other way for it to end. Thanks for sticking around! Thanks for saying I'm rad! Thanks for leaving reviews! Haha, wow, I need to shut up.

So now that it's over what shall I do?

Plug myself, of course. Don't tell me you were expecting anything else.

There's this little site called afterglare . com owned by rad little me. As far as my opinion goes, the best writing that I've produced thus far is written there.

In particular (oh yes, now I'm going to talk about why I think you should be there) I've got this three-part story that took me three years to write. Favorite story I've ever written? Yes, I think so. I know that a lot of people were disappointed by the lack of description in this story but let me tell you, the story I'm talking about is descriptions galore. The main character has a lot of sarcastic inner monologue. She makes fun of herself a lot. What could be better? Is anyone convinced yet?

Can't you just take my word for it because I'm rad?

There are better descriptions, the first story is in high school and is adorable if I do say so myself, the second story has a really developed plot including subplots, and the third story...the third story is all great and wonderful and blah blah blah. You get to see the main character develop, definitely a lot more than Kaitlin does. There's boys in bands. There are a lot of good looking people in the story. There are a lot of funny people in the story. There are a lot of people that are just good people.

The saga is called Destiny and there's a link to the site, and directly to the trilogy, in my profile if you decide to give it a go. And you should. Please please please.

And if that's not your thing!

I'm currently working on another high school story with surf and soccer and confusion. Because writing about sixteen year olds and messing up their pretend lives kind of makes my day.

So if I still haven't convinced you, and you hate me, and you don't want to read...just head on over and say hi? Comment on the layout. Send me hatemail? Something. Anything. I'll love you for it.

Okay, I'll stop before the overly done author's note gets to be longer than the final chapter.

P.S. to Alice Heist, you are extremely nautical and I wish I had your e-mail address so I could sway you into checkin' out my other stuff.