Locke realized that he was probably the only man waiting for a shuttle that didn't mind the layover. A few families with young children were trying desperately to shush babies, and even most of the adults looked annoyed or pissed off. A handsome young man was trying to hold back tears as he spoke on a cell phone, while a young pregnant woman rubbed her belly anxiously. Beside those two stood the blond man who had pratically run him over when they'd been getting off the plane.
"It is a very strange assortment," Mr. Eko mentioned. Locke smiled a little at that.
"Yeah," he agreed. "It's black, white, and plenty of grey in between."
"I love airports," Libby said softly, a smile on her face. Ana rolled her eyes. "There are so many different people, all with so many emotions. You just have to wonder where everyone's going, and why."
"And why they're crazy enough to get on a plane in the first place," Ana snorted.
Locke didn't respond to their inane little chatter. He had to keep reminding himself to take deep breaths. He was on the plane because he didn't have another option. He was lost, completely and utterly lost.
"Is something troubling you?" Mr. Eko asked. Libby and Ana were still trading insults, meanwhile. Locke sighed, and continued to look straight ahead. Mr. Eko laid a heavy hand on his shoulder. "I am a good man to talk to if you are disturbed. I am a priest."
"A priest, huh?" Locke laughed a little at that. "Never had much use for priests."
He wasn't like his foster mother. He didn't hate religion. He just thought that the organization of it was absurd. A deep spiritual connection couldn't be achieved through arcane rituals and silly traditions. Still. A priest. . .
"I want to kill a man," he said. Mr. Eko nodded.
"Ahh," he said, and then nothing more. Locke waited for another word, an offer of absolution, but nothing more was said. He didn't like the silence.
"My father," he said after a moment, hoping to elicit some type of response from the stone-faced priest. Eko turned to look at him; nothing more. "He put me in this wheelchair," Locke continued. "I used to be happy in my life. I used to be happy!"
He hadn't meant to yell, but emotion had gotten the best of him. Ana and Libby quit their bickering to look at him, as did several other passengers. He closed his eyes for a moment, breathed in and out four times, and then opened them again. He forced a smile onto his face, and turned to look at Eko, determined to maintain a seeming state of calm, although his insides were roiling.
"He ruined your life, so you wish to ruin his," Eko nodded. "Why are you telling me this?"
Locke shook his own head in response. A motor revved up down the street, and a moment later the shuttle appeared. Locke sat in his chair as the rest of the passengers boarded the bus. He wheeled forward at the last second, desperate not to be left behind.
"Oh, I'm sorry," the driver said, a look of chagrin on his face as he noticed Locke. "This bus isn't handicap accesible. I'll have to call for another shuttle."
Locke nodded. Calm, he thought to himself. Calm.
"I will wait with him," Eko said, stepping off the bus and going to stand beside the other man.
"All right," the driver nodded his head, still visibly upset by his inability to help. "I'm really sorry. There will be another bus in just a few minutes."
"That will be fine," Mr. Eko allowed a rare smile. "Thank you."
"Yeah, yeah," Locke nodded his head, and forced another smile onto his face. "Thanks."
The doors on the bus shut and it rolled away. Locke forced himself to unclench a fist. It had been the second bus in as many days to roll away from him. If it weren't for the damn wheelchair. . .
He knew that he was meant for greater things. But how was he supposed to achieve any of them if he couldn't do something as simple as get onto a regular bus?
"Perhaps it is not your father that you are angered with," Mr. Eko suggested. Locke rolled his eyes.
"If not him, then who?" he asked.
"Perhaps you are more upset with yourself."
Locke didn't say anything after that. How could he, really, when the strange man had hit so close to the truth?
Maybe, he thought, this layover was not just a hitch in his plan toward life. Maybe it was a sign, a sort of destiny. Maybe the entire reason that the plane had suffered had been for this one moment.
"You're right," he said, just as a second bus was pulling up. "It's my life. I just have to figure out how to live it."
And the first step, he thought, would be to finally return those calls from the surgeon. Maybe they were right, and this paralysis was only temporary. Maybe it could be fought.
Maybe, he though, there was more to seizing destiny than waiting for the inevitable.