Monday, March 22, 2010

Chapter 3

The next day proved to be a revelation for Mel and the beginning of a great friendship and working relationship.

Greg had shown up at seven the next morning, catching Mel still in her robe after a shower. She had opened the door still rather bleary-eyed, not having yet had coffee. She’d found Greg nearly bobbing with excitement on the doorstep and had grinned at the expression on his face. She’d had him come in and showed him where the planes were after cautioning him not to enter them without her and had returned to her upstairs loft to dress and put coffee on.

Mel had been gone less than fifteen minutes, calling out Greg’s name as she stepped off the stairs. She looked around the organized clutter of the hanger, not seeing him for a few seconds until she heard the clink of a tool being laid on the concrete floor. Walking around the side of the smaller seaplane in the hanger for repairs, she stood in astonishment as she saw Greg working on the engine with a precision that had her mouth falling open.

Deep into what he was doing, Greg didn’t even notice the woman standing next to him. He had always loved engines, whether they were car engines or boat engines or even plane engines. The fact that he had never worked on a plane before had nothing to do with the almost instinctive way he tightened some bolts, loosened others, and started dismantling what she already knew was a sticky carburetor.

Having worked on planes her entire life, Mel knew there was nothing Greg could do that would be irreparable and she let him dismantle the carburetor as she watched, saw him clean the components, adding lubricant as necessary, and then begin putting it all back together with speed and efficiency.

A short time later she and Greg were sitting having a cup of coffee when she offered him a job. That had been five years ago and she had never regretted her decision. Very quickly she had realized what had probably happened on the cruise ship. Greg was definitely mentally impaired in some areas, while remaining high functioning in others. He had a way with mechanics and had learned over time to do simple office work such as answering the phone and taking messages she could use.

At times she had been frustrated with some of his mistakes, but whenever she had felt it bubbling up, she had looked at his face, fallen with the realization that he had done something wrong, but not ever knowing quite what he had done, and she had realized that she could never be mean, never berate him, never be that cruel. Greg was simply the sweetest man she had ever met and she was glad he was her friend.

Greg lived in another section of the hanger she had converted once she realized he was staying in a room in town where there were no laundry facilities and that he had to eat out all the time. They worked together during the day, had dinner at night, and then went their separate ways in the evening. Greg had a large comic book collection and seemed to favor Spiderman, and Superman, and Batman, pretty much any comic that ended in “man”. She could sometimes hear him laughing to himself as he enjoyed one of his favorites.

The years had gone by and she found some solace in having Greg’s company. Since her father’s death when she was 22, she had been alone, running the business he had started. Mel had adored her father, a rough spoken, outspoken bear of a man, who had continued to throw his daughter up over his shoulder and dump her in the ocean when she had sassed him well into her late teens. She usually ended up bobbing to the surface. laughing along with her father who stood on the seawall, hands on his hips, his mane of hair blowing in the breeze. He would then fish her out and let her do what she wanted to do anyway.

What Mel wanted to do was fly. Since she was old enough to point her father had taken her up in the plane with him. Her mother had been gone her entire life and Mel had no memory of her. Alex Gordon simply refused to speak ill of his wife. He was the one who had wanted to move from the United States to the small island they now lived on. He was the one who had taken their savings and bought a seaplane to live the life he loved. Alex had never blamed her mother, although Mel would never forgive her for leaving them behind.

During the years of her childhood, her father had no one to watch her and she had been with him on every flight, to every port, through every kind of weather, and she had lived for those times. It was just her father and her and they were enough. Alex had started teaching his daughter as soon as she was able to talk and by the time she was 17 she had her own pilot’s license. By the time she was 18 she was doing her own charters.

The years from the age of 18 to 22 had been one of the happiest times in Mel’s life. She and her father were partners, the business was good if a bit erratic, and it seemed as if the rough times, when the business was building, were behind them. That all changed two weeks after her 22nd birthday when her father was killed in a plane crash. She knew it was weather related, knew her father couldn’t have done anything different, knew all the facts. It didn’t change a thing. Eleven years later, now 33, she missed her father as much as she had the day she lost him.


Rike said...

ahh, now I can leave a comment here.
I like this story so far. But I doesn't know yet . is it a Jon, a Richie or a Jon/Richie-story ;)

Y said...

Great start setting the scene, can'twait for more.