I can see the first signs of discomfort creep into his face as we reach the docks and pass through the arch that leads into the terminal. A plane is being loaded at the far end of the platform, bobbing in the water as the first passengers are aided inside. It doesn't take long before Lewis' features are twisted in shock and as the plane revs its motor and pulls out into the causeway, the look on his face can only be described as one of mounting horror.
"See look?" I point to the sky as we enter the lobby of the sales center. "See that? Look. Up it goes."
His eyes are bulging in a mixture of terror and disbelief; as hard as he tries to contain himself, I can see the blank fear written on his face.
The lobby is quiet, the few waiting passengers lounging casually on broad leather seats, sipping on water and coffee from the free drink bar.
"So Lewis, you were saying?" I smile, so smug that I feel I could burst. "As sure as the sun will rise? You and me – together inside one of THOSE?" I wave my hand at the fleet of planes parked outside with a dramatic flourish.
Although he looks like a cornered animal, Lewis manages convey a stance of icy restraint. He stands very still, his face erased of all traces of overt emotion, poised like a statue standing on a precipice. Only his eyes betray the conflict brewing inside him, as he tosses them to and fro about the room like blue lightening.
"Folks fly like birds in 2012," he says in a deadpan voice.
"They sure do. As I said, I've done it many, many times." My grin must be luminous, blinding him with all its intensity.
He clears his throat and pushes one hand into the side pocket of his jeans, shifting position. A petite woman with long dark hair walks around him, ducking towards the seats and glancing up at him covertly from beneath lowered lashes. He does not take note, oblivious to anything but the sight of the planes being boarded outside.
"Do you want something to drink before we go?" I suggest. "I wouldn't recommend eating anything, since it will be your first flight….."
He swallows and I can briefly see his Adam's apple rise and fall down his broad throat. I can see the question in his eyes, mentally hearing the unsaid words that linger between us:
Do those things ever fall from the sky?
I can only imagine how it must feel for him to have narrowly escaped certain death at the end of a rope to suddenly find himself contemplating the unimaginable prospect of finding it again in the form of something inconceivable in his lifetime. He looks so serious, so reflective that my smile begins to fade in fear of having made a grave error.