I've started posting the chapters of Resolution 786. I'll post each successive chapter roughly every 3 or 4 days. Here's Chapter 22:
Adam Hueghlomm passed his time reading during the long flight. The plane cabin was dark with night. A column of light fell from the overhead compartment above him, glanced the front of his light brown face and splashed over the open pages of his books. He was taking turns reading from four texts. He had taken off his glasses and had put them on the empty seat beside him, holding whatever book he was reading at the time just inches from his near-sighted, brown eyes.
He found the Old Testament and the Quran to be churning cauldrons of wisdom and violence with equal parts of each being issued from humanity and from Above — infants murdered while asleep in their cradles; the brutal destruction of two cities because of the sexual orientation of their citizens; an indiscriminate mass drowning of global proportions; and an unending procession of so many more vengeful, fatal interventions in human affairs. “And that’s just the good guys,” Hueghlomm chuckled to himself. As Fatima had taught him, the two scriptures corroborated each other in countless places. Perhaps his parents’ marriage was wholly appropriate, he thought, and not the anomaly that many regarded it.
Along with the Old Testament and the Quran, Hueghlomm had brought along Dostoevski’s Brothers Karamazov and Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. But he grew tired of reading. He leaned forward, reached underneath the seat in front of him and pulled the maroon backpack that he had borrowed from Becca into his lap. He dragged open its top zipper and took out a small, silver cardboard box. He lifted the lid and smiled happily at the handmade twenty-two carat gold ring inside. The ring’s face formed a circle, a brilliant pink jewel resting at its center. A dozen small diamonds marked the circumference around the center stone, twinkling like bright stars on a lazy summer night. The ring was older than he was, he reminded himself, the handiwork of an Indian jeweler practicing his trade in faraway Africa.
Becca planned to pick him up at the airport when he returned. He was scheduled back at the end of the week, on Easter Sunday. He looked forward to surprising Becca with the ring, to seeing her freckled face break into a bright, translucent smile as she slid the circle of gold onto her thin finger. He smiled again, growing more pleased with the gift and with the anticipation of Becca’s gratified reaction. He closed the little silver box and put it away, sliding the zipped backpack underneath the seat in front of him.
Hueghlomm leaned back into his seat, reached up and turned off the reading light. He shifted his head to look out the window as the plane approached the coast of Africa. Daylight was rushing over the dipped horizon ahead, rushing to meet the plane, finally catching it in its yellow grasp. For hours the desert passed under them, vast, pale, arid, unending. They finally flew over a narrow straight of white, rippled water, then over small villages and big cities.
He remembered Becca’s trepidation about this trip. She’d never asked him to forego a trip in the seven years that they’d been together, not until now. “Silly girl,” he mumbled, smiling lovingly, and went to sleep.