The skyline alight in neon red, I leave NYC behind, flying northwest over the great island of Manhattan, the Hudson River and New Jersey destined for a different tri-state area. Cincinnati International Airport touches Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. It seems counter intuitive to fly north when your destination is due south but I think we can all agree that the enigmatic code that goes into air flight scheduling is not decipherable by many.
The flight attendant's voice on the intercom is garbled, as if I'm on a Manhattan-bound subway car. The plane is full and tiny, 21 rows deep, 4 seats wide with a sloped ceiling where anyone over 5'7" has to stoop to get into the carriage and to their seat. The flight is uneventful and less than two hours later we arrive to a snow-covered runway. The snow fury is marking its passage every which way. The terminal is deserted and I make my way through the concourse on an inter-terminal airtrain. The baggage claim and ground transportation are accessed by a set of escalators, where only one is in service. There is a gurney at the top of the non-moving escalator, and although my mind registers it I'm too tired to process what that could mean.
As I step onto the escalator and make my way down it all becomes clear as the firefighters and EMT crew come into view. They are assisting an elderly gentleman who had fallen face forward onto the escalator. He could have been Dad's age, or younger, and he is battered and bruised, and seemingly alone. His injuries are visible and worrisome, a huge bump on his head, blood running down his forearms. I can't help but think of Dad's accident, the similarities uncanny. Flashes of his own fall, the blood on the landing, the EMTs examination, his insistence that he was fine. A guy standing behind me points out that you can never be too sure of what the repercussions of a fall like that could mean, "most folks that age are on blood thinners." I shuddered, remembering all too well.
At the bottom of the staircase, the baggage claim is hopping with passengers, queued up at the American Airlines help desk. The DoubleTree shuttle is just outside, where slush of a different kind is piling up. A family of four from Massachusetts joins me in the van. They are making their way to Disney World in Orlando, this is their second flight in as many days, the final one tomorrow will hopefully get them closer to the sun, just like me.