The grating sound of the squeaky wheel on the concrete shook him from his reverie. He shook his head and smiled, as he saw her trying to get the luggage trolley over some bump on the ramp. She turned and grinned at everybody, as he thought of all the times she'd always turn to give him a last look as she boarded a bus or got into a car or left a room. And she looked at him again with that same look. That mixture of mischievousness and childlike innocence. That same confident belief that we'd meet again soon. Only this time the confidence didn't mask the fear in her eyes.
The struggle to not give way to her emotions was evident as she gripped on tighter to the trolley. And the grin became wider. After some meaningless "bbyes" and "keep in touch" and "i'll call" and "mail me" she turned to walk towards the entrance to the airport.
He stepped forward and took the haversack off her shoulder. He hugged it and started to walk with her towards the entrance.
There was about half an inch of air between arms as they walked and the space seemed to be charged with electricity. Only she knew that it wasn't science but the silence that explained the tingling on their skins.
They stopped just before the entrance luggage screening. He held out the haversack straps and she slid her arms into them. He straightened the twisted straps on her shoulders and put his palms on her shoulders.
They stood there for a minute too long. Her voice cracked as she turned and said "Well, you take care of yourself."
He was about to say something. Something that would explain everything he was trying to say, when the security guard said, "Will you be carrying any luggage with you, ma'am?"
She turned back and in a firm voice said,"No. I'll be checking it in."
And walked towards the x-ray machines, never to turn back again.