Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Airport

I squirm uncomfortably in the black plastic chair. There is a small swoop, you see, in the seat, to provide some uninspiring source of comfort. This swoop does nothing for me, because I have no ass to fill it. Considering my Italian roots of simple carbohydrates and fat-filled cheeses, you'd think I'd have some cushion to fall back on, literally. But I'm the only member of my family with a hyper-active metabolism. So consequently, I have no ass to fill this uncomfortable chair.

The airport is unusually quiet today. There's a flight attendant calling the delayed time of my flight to Rome. Her voice is muffled, but I catch the part that I won't be leaving for another hour and a half. An old woman has some chunky heels on that clop on the marble floor. And then there's a young woman with long, thinner heels that tap, not clop. A middle-aged man in a business suit quite like mine is sitting in one of the plastic chairs, rolling his suitcase back and forth in front of him. He coughs roughly. I move a couple of seats down.

It seems like just a couple of minutes ago I was sitting next to Liv, downing a warm Bud Light, watching her sleep. When she woke up, I was going to hurt her, leave her, tell her that things just weren't working out. First she would give me a bewildered look, then her eyes would glaze over with salty tears, and then she would start to yell. But for the next couple of hours, I could just watch her, face blank in dreamy wonder.

It wasn't that I didn't like her. I wasn't in love, perhaps as she was, but I enjoyed her company, nevertheless. I won't be modest or humble or a gentleman by any means. She had started to settle down, she'd adapted to my eccentric behavior. I couldn't have that. I was in it for the lust and excitement, not the dutiful and redundant relationship of an experienced couple. Longevity meant commitment and familiar comfort.

And who the hell would ever want that?

She woke up eventually, to the smell of coffee brewing in the kitchen. Her rich chestnut hair fell partially over her face. Her eyes were seductive, unintentionally, as they were opening, arising from a long night's sleep. I was sitting in an armchair opposite the bed.

"Morning." I said to her.
"You're drinking beer from last night." Her eyes were stuck to the bottle in my hand.
"And it's only nine in the morning." I reminded her. She sighed, and her gaze moved towards a duffle bag at the end of the bed.
"What's that?" She enquired, already offended.
"Your things." We sat for an awkward couple of seconds. My statement wasn't processing.
"John, it's too early for this. Tell me why are my things at the end of the bed." It wasn't even a question. It was a demand. I took a long breath.
"Liv, these past two months have been fantastic. Exhilarating. Passionate. But I feel that lately we've moved towards a different direction…and I think it'd be best if we didn't see each other anymore."

Much to my surprise, she didn't swell up with angry tears. She just looked at me, contemplative; confused. Finally, she spoke.

"You're serious?"
"You know, John," She said calmly, "you are the most peculiar son-of-a-bitch I've ever met. Why?"
"Why am I leaving you?"
"Well, not leaving. Kicking me out, apparently." Her words grew angrier.
"Because I'm British. And you're American. Southern to be specific. We are match proven throughout history unable to coexist."
I wanted to push her buttons. Make her angry. Give her less of a reason to ever think of me kindly again. Make this separation faster.
"You're acting like this is a joke. It's not a joke, John. Relationships are not something you can just laugh off." She put her head in her hands and rubbed her temples.
"But I am. Which is why I can't continue this. You're far more serious about it than I am."
"You said you loved me."
"Not eternally. Or unconditionally. I loved your vivaciousness, your unpredictable and intriguing sensuality. Quite frankly, I got bored. And I'm bored with this conversation. It's going no where…we're going no where. So I packed your things. And I suggest that you leave, unless you'd like a cup of coffee or a shower first."

She looked at me, with both disgust and disbelief. Fantastic. She quickly got out of bed and threw on a yellow linen dress lying on the floor. Her eyes darted about the room, searching for a missing part of last night's outfit. Oh god. I could sense an aura of panic about her. The break up was starting to sink in.

"Here, darling." I held a pair of brown leather boots in the air. She looked at them, looked at me, and then…ah, there it was. The tears.

Drops of water spilled out of her emerald eyes, plunging down her sun-kissed cheeks. She sat down on the bed, shamefully covering her face. And then the quiet sobs. The soundless heaving.

Now, I'm an asshole. An accomplished, experienced asshole. But I'm not completely heartless. To watch a woman crying alone, all because of your own damned words…well, not many can go without trying to console that woman. I got out of the chair and scooted close to her on the bed, putting my arms around her. Her head fell in to my chest, and I felt her hair between my fingers. I had hoped she would've stormed out of my apartment, like the proud woman I thought she was, but she was apparently more attached than I had guessed.

"Please Olivia, don't go crying now." She wept harder. "I'm just…I'm not the man you deserve. I'm a—a—playboy who has no right to your love and commitment." The words coming out of my mouth sounded forced, robotic. I would have to step it up if I wanted her to leave. "I just…I couldn't go on pretending like there was more to me than that. I can't lie to you."
Although that was partially a lie; and then, not. She looked up at me, with her poor, soaked face and wet chunks of her hair, leaving her looking like a lost puppy. She tried talking through broken sobs.
"You—and—me—are so—perf—"
"Never going to work." I interrupted her. I gave her a hard, piercing stare. She stared back, as if trying to search for some deeper emotion behind my eyes. She sniffed loudly, put on her shoes, and picked up the bag. And as quickly as I ended our two-month liaison, she walked out of my apartment and slammed the door.
"No goodbye?" I said aloud to myself.

I picked up my briefcase and walked down the boarding hallway, or whatever it's called, on to the plane. I hate planes. I'm not afraid of flying, or heights. I hate sitting with a bunch of strangers for elongated periods of time. I hate the smell of planes. (You know what I'm talking about.) The lack of air, of space, of reasonable sized cups for your soft drink. I hate the dirty bathrooms, the crying children, the little tv screens above the aisle that no one can actually see.
Today, I hate the man sitting next to me. The fucking hacking man from the boarding area. He sounds like he's trying to throw up some long lost memory in Barcelona that has buried itself into the depths of his intestines. His coughing bellows deeper and louder, and I feel molecules of spit land on my arm. There is one thing I've decided in this world and this is it: there is no such thing as karma. The universe just has a sick sense of humor.

1 comment:

  1. "No Goodbye?"

    That was my favorite line of this Italian boy. It suites him very well.

    You have a wonderful way of writing from a man's point of view. You can hear your womanly touches in the words here and there, but the insight into the man is so grounded that I might not guess a female wrote this.

    Great Job Miss O'connor ;)