When Opportunity Knocks
by M.A. Church
Another day, another business trip in yet another airport.
It was just one of many in the past fifteen years. And wouldn’t you know it? Dewayne had a two-hour layover. More time from his life lost sitting in an unremarkable airport in yet another sprawling city.
Feet dragging he trekked to one of the terminal’s food shops—they all look the same at this point—and ordered something to eat. Once he was seated, he shrugged off his suit coat, shoulders slumped. That was another thing he needed to take care of. He’d lost so much weight due to stress his clothes no longer fit.
As he picked at his food, he pulled his tablet from his briefcase and reviewed his itinerary. The words blurred on the computer screen as that last thought replayed on a loop in his head. Fifteen years. Fifteen years ago the break of a lifetime landed in his lap and his career took off.
The opportunity to travel the world was something he couldn’t pass up. He quickly became a jet setter, and his name became well-known in all business corners of the world. He had money, prestige, and fame.
Oh, there were some who didn’t care for his lifestyle, but with his reputation they dared not speak of it. They knew he’d crush them like a bug under the heel of his very expensive shoe. He liked men, and he didn’t give a damn who knew it. He had everything he could want.
He set his tablet off to the side. Except… he was lonely. Weary. He wanted more than what his life had become. Over the past several months what drove him had shifted. More and more he dreamed of white picket fences, 2.5 kids, and that one and only perfect person waiting on him when he got home.
He’d had that, at one time. The perfect one and only, that was. Someone who loved him for who he was—bad habits and all. And he thrown it all away when opportunity came knocking. Ian was a shining star who had lit up his very existence all through high school and college.
A sweet guy who could draw like a fiend—who’d taken that talent and become a fairly famous artist. A sweet guy Dewayne discarded because Ian wouldn’t—couldn’t?—fit into Dewayne’s new life. He left Ian with a backward glance. God, what a pretentious ass he’d been.
If only he could go back and…. Right. Go back and do what? Change things? Turn down such a golden opportunity? If he had, what then? Who would he have become? Certainly not the man he was now. Would that had been such a bad thing? At least he’d had love then.
What did he have now? He was in his forties and had finally figured out money and prestige couldn’t buy him love. He’d had more ass in the last fifteen years than any one man was entitled to, and none of it meant anything to him. It was just sex, and now it wasn’t even very good sex. In fact, it reminded him of his life… monotonous. More trouble than it was worth. Boring.
He wanted more—he wanted what he had so long ago.
Somewhere along the way he’d lost himself and become someone he didn’t know. Suddenly he sat straighter. God, he wasn’t sure he liked the person he was now. But he could change that. The sad thing was, he had no idea where to start. Even sadder was he’d this epiphany in some unmemorable airport on a business trip. It figured.
After a quick check of the time, he paid his bill and put his tablet back in his briefcase. Once this business trip was over, he’d returned to the office and resign. He had more than enough money to live on. It was time to start a new chapter in his life.
He took one last look around as he silently said goodbye in his head. No more business trips. No more airports. No more hotel suites. No more business suits. No more business deals. He was starting anew.
Maybe, just maybe, it was time to reconnect with who he had been. Now that the decision had been made, he could breathe easier. He felt lighter… and excited in a way he hadn’t felt in a very, very long time. He drummed his fingers on the table, and then took a deep breath. He let it out. Heaven help him, he was going to do this, and he couldn’t wait.
“Dewayne? Dewayne Yancey? Oh my God, is that you?”
Dewayne blinked. Was this a joke? Was his brain playing tricks on him? He hadn’t heard that voice in over fifteen years, but he’d recognize it anywhere.
He turned to face the man standing at his table. Dewayne knew right then and there he’d been given a second chance. What were the odds Ian would end up in this airport and on this day? Or that he’d walk into this very restaurant precisely at the time Dewayne was sitting there? All while Dewayne questioned the decisions he’d made in his life.
Dewayne never been one to ignore when opportunity came knocking.
“Ian? I… I can’t believe this. I can’t tell you how good it is to see you standing there.” Dewayne stood up, and grinning, stepped forward. “But I’d sure like to try.”
M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full-time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!
When not writing, she’s on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two grown children.
She was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, runner-up in the 2015 Rainbow Awards, and is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.