The View

Flash
Sabrina Hicks


Photo Credit: Jon Wiley/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

The fancy restaurant had been Robert’s idea, a way to make amends for his hectic work schedule and long hours—not a far cry from what my mother had to endure with my own workaholic father. While Mom painted desert landscapes, Dad tore them down, making real estate deals for more strip malls. Much like my flexible hours being a local photojournalist were a huge contrast to Robert’s days and nights spent at his law office.

“I requested a table by the window,” Robert said to the host, who was checking off our names on the reservations list.

“Certainly,” he said, gathering menus before leading us to the back of the restaurant where expansive windows took in the vistas and red rock landscape.

He pulled out my chair next to the window, and I sat, thanking him as Robert took his phone from his pocket.

“Just a client I need to get back to,” he said, texting.

As the shadows began to descend down the mountains, bathing in a blood orange sunset, I thought how much my mother would have loved this view; how her eyes used to hold the colors of the desert as she painted, interpreting the mood of the mountains; how her work grew darker as she grew older, until she finally left my father and moved to California to live alone in a bungalow near the ocean. She would have loved the view as much as I did, and suddenly I felt sorry I had ever been angry at her for her choices.

“Get anything you like,” Robert said, setting his phone on the table between us, just as it lit up again. “The trout is excellent.”

I perused the menu, but stopped to see the sun slipping below the mountains, staining them purple. The saguaros in the distance, standing like kings crowned in a halo of sunlit yellow thorns, begged to be noticed. Robert’s thumbs typed a furious response, and I watched his brow knit in disgust, leaning further away from the table, reflected in the large window before us.

“I need to use the restroom,” I said, hesitating a moment for his acknowledgement, but his mind was elsewhere. I reached for my purse and slipped away, pausing at the ladies’ room and back at the table to see his head still bent forward, fingers moving across his phone, and the sun dissolving into a thin pink line, pooling along the jagged peaks in a final gash of day.

I rolled down the windows as I drove away, inhaling the orange blossoms at dusk, watching the last of the shadows slip off the foothills, deciding it was a fine time to text him I wouldn’t be returning.

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Sabrina Hicks lives in the Southwest. Her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, Gyroscope Review, Spelk Fiction, The Drabble and Panoply. Email: desertdwelleraz3[at]gmail.com.