Flight 404 Chapter 5

Chapter 5

The day he met Kate, school had just resumed for the new fall session. The leaves had not yet started to fall and the weather was still warm.

St. Lucas had been his second home for the last three years and he no longer stopped and stared in awe at the ivy covered Gothic stone buildings and manicured lawns that composed the St. Lucas campus.

St. Lucas was – no, still is he thought to himself, a small private ivy-league eastern school with an excellent reputation for turning out top-notch journalist.  Some of the best guys in the business, today, graduated from there.

He poured himself a small amount of the freshly brewed coffee, added some sugar, walked back over to Sam’s desk and began searching the bottom drawer for the bottle of whiskey he knew to be there and topped off the cup of ‘coffee’.  “Sweet and potent, a little more whiskey and perfection”, he thought.

Looking at the trophy wall behind Sam’s desk chair, He was reminded of St. Lucas’ other reputation.  One that was not so good.

St. Lucas’ basketball team was a joke.  St. Lucas’s basketball team had the longest running losing streak of any of the top ten Ivy League colleges.  It was said that the Lucas Lion had never roared or scored.  St. Lucas desperately needed a power forward and he had fit the bill. 

Their need had opened a door, for him that might otherwise have remained closed.  At his East Lansing, Indiana High School, he had been a formidable player, playing both offense and defense.

On defense, he played the power forward position racking up at least twenty-four points per game. 

On defense, his six-foot-four inch frame served him well as a center guard.  He was a solid wall that few players ever breached. 

A scout from St. Lucas had offered him a full scholarship after watching him almost single handedly win the state championship for his school.

He took a long sip of the coffee and the tension in his neck eased somewhat.

As he remembered it, he was running out of the dorm on his way to class, when his best friend Jack Stulowski, yelled from the upstairs window. “Hey David, don’t forget to go by and check out the new crop of freshmen girls.”  David flashed him a huge grin and yelled back, “Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”  Only a few students at St. Lucas treated him as a regular person.  Jack was one of those.

St. Lucas was ninety-five percent white located in a town that was ninety-eight percent white.  If he were lucky, maybe there’d be a decent looking black girl who had decided to take the plunge into the all white male dominated profession of journalism.

If not, he’d get himself a spot where he could watch as all the unattached, and some loosely attached, men of St. Lucas gathered to welcome the new crop of girls as they moved their belongings into Freshman Hall.

By the time he got there, a crowd of guys had already gathered.  Music floated in from somewhere nearby.  Some of the guys were shirtless, tossing a football around.  Some sat on lawn chairs with coolers of beer close at hand. Others tended barbeques and offered the girls free food. 

Being a warm August day, the guys were urging the girls to flash their assets.  Young white girls, he laughed, were always testing their boundaries by seeing how far they could push the envelope.  And usually that took the form of exposing some part of their anatomy.  Those boys were more than willing to encourage them.

Every time a guy spotted a girl he liked, he’d offer his help by bringing up a suitcase or trunk in turn for a name and phone number.

Kate was standing on the steps of the girl’s dorm wearing a white sleeveless cotton shirt and sky blue short shorts, her long blonde hair blowing in the warm autumn breeze.  He took one look at her standing there on the steps, giving the drooling crowd a good look at a pair of long sleek legs kissed by the summer sun, and his mouth dropped open.  She was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen, white or black.

She turned and looked past the football jocks standing in front of him and flashed him a smile of dentist white perfection.  It was the approval in her eyes that hooked him. It was as if she were saying it was OK to look at her.  That rarely ever happened, a white woman giving a black man permission to stare at her.

It never occurred to him, then, and not until sometime later, that Kate already knew who he was.

From then on his path took him past the freshmen girl’s dorm.  He kept both eyes peeled for the longhaired blonde with the beautiful legs. 

They met, not much long after their first encounter, but not in the way he had expected.

The next time he saw her, she was standing in the hall outside his Journalism 301 class.  She made no attempts at hiding the fact that she was waiting for him.  Her boldness gave him a confidence he’d never known before with a girl.  She wanted him!  They walked down the hallway oblivious to everyone and everything.  They flowed together naturally.  Her name was Kate and she was a Liberal Arts major and basketball fan.