Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

Airport Calls

by M.e. Mitchell

I check the calendar again and pretend to act surprised. It's April already, the season he heads north for his other life. All the things people look forward to this time of year only distress me. Budding trees, lustrous fauna, and the hopeful anticipation that should accompany spring, is old hat. Been there, done that, didn't pan out. That calendar is nothing more than a monthly announcement by which I chart my foolishness.

Evenings of intimate farewells gave way long ago to the sound of coins dropping every three minutes into a public phone at the departure terminal. I hang onto every word he shouts at me above the background noise: See you after the Woodbine meet is over. I've left some money for you with so-and-so in case you find yourself short. Be well.

Air Canada beckons him. I'm choking on the truth I want to hurl at him, but the operator interrupts and asks for an additional fifty cents. Forget it; he's already bolted to the luggage check-in. How remarkably fast he moves when necessary. Even the telephone conversations are on his terms.

I was stunned, though flattered, by the line he sprung on me that first week. You could write your own ticket with me. I kept him at arm's length until he wore me done and won the game. The grand ideals I once cherished succumbed to an easier way, so I got that top-dog title in the end.

Write your own ticket, my ass.

I check the calendar again. It's June now and the May call never came. An eloquent recording announces the number I have just dialed has been changed, no further information is available.

Well, old girl, what did you expect?

Between the anger and deprecating introspection, I still manage to justify a decade of waste. He's considerate; at least he made sure so-and-so keeps me supplied with a stack of Diazepam scripts.

As the yellow pills work their magic, that disquiet in my head begins to ease and I realize Anne Sexton was right...you are a watercolor, you wash off.

M.E. Mitchell lives and writes in Queens Village, NY. After retiring from the thoroughbred racing industry, she went on to earn a BS in Communications and an MA in Sports Management. Previous or forthcoming publishing credits include Bumble Jacket Miscellany, The Armchair Aesthete, Threshold Magazine, and Mementoes, a literary journal of the City University of New York.

Twenty-sixth Flash

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