The cashier’s voice rose with an excitement only possible from delivering bad news about someone known but distant.
Meg’s hands started trembling as she asked “What?” softly, not wanting to be answered, knowing she had heard every word. A drop of rainwater rolled down a long twisted strand of her hair and plopped on the countertop. Her finger traced it into a small swirl. She was afraid to ask for more information, afraid to admit that the news overwhelmed all thought. It seemed impossible. Maybe it couldn’t have… In a sudden flood, discarded memories about the two of them unleashed.
“Is something wrong?” the cashier asked.
But the question was to Meg’s back as she rushed past probing glances and out the glass doors. The sun moved in angled shafts across the parking lot sending tendrils of steam rising up from the scattered puddles. Her key jammed into the car lock and would not turn.
“Open up. Goddamn it, open up.”
And then she was crying. The keys slipped loose, jingling across her leg and bare feet to the pavement. Tears dripped onto her blouse, adding to the dampness caused by the rain… by the sudden, torrential rain from what seemed a thousand years ago.
“Recently, my short fiction has been published in Plum Ruby Review, The Spillway Review, and Apollo’s Lyre. Other credits are include articles in The Travel Rag and Vegetarian Times. As for me, I’m a English teacher at Arab-American University in Jenin, Palestine. (Not nearly as dangerous as you think.)” E-mail: john_rubino[at]yahoo.com.