Short Story

Ray held the lambent match head near his stogy, shielding the flickering flame from the harsh Chicago wind with his free hand. Taking a long drag from his “Windy City Special #5” he took account of his surroundings for the first time. They were standing on the tarmac of one of the runways at O’Hare airport. It was bare, save for a few planes taxiing in and out the rundown terminal a couple yards from where they stood. Rewind a few decades back and we would have had the perfect backdrop to one of those old silent noir movies. But as the 757 airliner streaking by a few meters from Ray and his charge would testify, right now this was pretty dangerous.

“Well kiddo I guess-… o shit” He quickly dropped the dying match onto the cracked asphalt and was quick to stamp it out. Somewhere in the fumble, his cigar flopped out from between his lips.

“Ow.” she muttered. “That’s a really disgusting habit ya’know? Shud stop.” She dug into her shirt and removed the stogy from the confines of her blouse and nonchalantly tossed it behind her only to have it splatter across the front tire of a landing jet. Could anything more destructive been more arousing?

“Heh, that’s pretty funny-…” Ray began

“If you’re gonna make some witty comment or joke comparing how our relationship panned out to the effect of your recently deceased cigarette, don’t. It’s been noted and acknowledged” she interrupted.

“It’s a cigar actually”

“Shut up.”

“I love you”

“Shut up.”

Ray sighed and rubbed his neck trying to think of a way to make some sort of a classy exit. He couldn’t come up with anything that would do. He sighed praying for inspiration. Nope nothing, he sighed again, nothing, sighed, nothing, sighed, nothing, fell. When he came to he was flat on the floor looking up at her face, a forefront before a gang of gray clouds.

“You forgot to inhale.” she said.

“So you’re leaving?”

“On a jet plane.”

“Don’t know when you’ll be back again?” he added with a hint of uncertainty gracing the corners of his coy grin.

She smiled. God she was beautiful.

“Can I hug you? A quick peck?” he inquired. She rolled her eyes and shook her head like a mother watching her son in the midst of a race. Neck-to-neck with the leader, on the brink of victory… only to slip on a used condom. What? Shit happens.

“Ray you know I’ll be coming back in like a few months right?”

“Well yeah, but-”

“Stop acting like such a girl.”

His mouth stamped close. Whatever thought that was planning to come out was softly shoved back in by her sheer honesty and truth. She patted his cheek.

“I’ll see you soon Ray.”

And just like that she was gone. he stayed on the floor, it was all he could do. No part of him wanted to react or move. He yearned to run for her, grab her and swing her by the crook of her arm and end with a kiss ushering in a crescendo of the most heart-warming of film scores, Alfred Hitchcock eat your heart out. But he didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t. He just laid there.

Water began to blur his vision and he felt moisture lapping his face, which was funny, because the skies had cleared and the sun was out, shining.