Scene: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Concourse A, Caribou Coffee, across from Gate A3
Delta Flight 879 has recently arrived at Gate A3 and there’s still a bustle of arriving passengers around the gate. Across from the gate, the Caribou Coffee barista hands Patricia the cup of coffee she ordered. It appears that she is looking for someone. She glances around the terminal as she walks to the other side of the store-front concession, where she doctors up the coffee with cream and sugar. And Splenda.
Patricia gets lost in thought as she stirs the cup of coffee.
Mark, a conservatively dressed man in his early 50s, graying brown hair and blue eyes, wearing dark blue dress pants and sport coat, dress casual shoes, and open collar light blue dress shirt, approaches from Patricia’s right. She is completely unaware of his presence. Mark senses it and is careful not to startle her.
Mark: Madam, your chauffeur has arrived.
Patricia (with a jerk and with surprise): Oh, hi Mark! I was looking for you. (Then with a wry smile and a giggle) I guess I got too engrossed in my coffee.
Mark: Yeah, I noticed! Our flight was delayed for a few minutes at take off. No idea why. I thought I’d be waiting for you when your flight arrived.
Patricia: No problem. We just taxied in a few minutes ago.
Mark: Hectic day? You look… preoccupied.
Patricia: No, I was just… it’s nothing. Everything is good. I guess I’m just not looking forward to this presentation tomorrow.
Mark: Aw, you’ll be all right. Phelps is a hard ass on the phone…
Patricia: But he melts in the presence of a pretty lady, right?
Mark: By the end of the day, he’ll be a teddy bear. Hell, by the time we break for lunch, he’ll be yours.
Patricia (with that now familiar wry smile): Oh my God! You’re pretty confident. Is it my marketing savvy or my drop-dead good looks?
Mark (smiling): You know me well enough to know my answer. You are savvy. You know your client and you know their business. I’ve read your proposal. They are going to make a ton of money because of this campaign.
Patricia (wry smile and dripping with sarcasm): So it’s not just my sweet, smiling face?
Mark: I’m not falling for it! You know you’re pretty. But that’s not what makes this work. Look, why do you downplay your talent? You’ve learned so frickin’ much about social media in the last three years. You stay on the cutting edge of the latest trends. You know what works for every industry. That’s what makes you special. Seems like the last six months or so, you’re cutting yourself down all the time. ‘It can’t be because I know what I’m talking about. They just want a piece of ass.’ Patricia, you’re talented. You’re going to blow that promotion if you keep selling yourself short. It doesn’t come across to the client. But Anderson notices it.
Patricia (staring down at her cup of coffee): I’m sorry. I know you’re right.
Mark: Hey, are you sure you’re okay?
Patricia: I am. That’s the strange thing. I actually am.
Mark: Is everything okay at home?
There’s an uneasy silence. Finally…
Patricia (looking directly at Mark for the first time): You know… it is. Everything is okay. Surprisingly.
Mark (unsure how to interpret her answer): Okay. I’ll take your word for it.
Patricia: No. I’m serious. It is.
Mark (emphatically): You know I usually don’t pry.
Patricia (almost interrupting): I know you don’t. And I appreciate that. But I know you’re concerned. Professionally. I’m… it’s… no… everything really is okay.
Mark: We need to get out of here. We still have a long drive ahead of us.
Patricia: Buy you a cup of coffee?
Mark: Sure. Thanks. Big one.
Patricia: Mark, you say Anderson notices. Did she tell you that?
Mark slowly nods in agreement.
Patricia steps back over to the register and talks to the barista. Mark reaches into his breast pocket, takes out his cell phone, and checks his messages.
– End, Part II –