Guilt Trip

She’s a welcoming sight in her favourite velvet skirt and her usual burgundy red smile. In front of her are two glasses of white wine, misty on the outside from the cold condensation and fingerprinted at their bases from her fiddling.

‘Will you hate me if I say I knew you’d come?’ she asks.

‘Not forever.’ I assure her.

‘Cheers,’ she offers, her fingers curling exquisitely around the stem of her glass.

‘To us,’ I say.

But my glass stays on the granite top of the bar and hers is lost somewhere between us as I take her powdery face in my hands and kiss her.

‘We’re in public,’ she mumbles.

‘And in fourteen hours we’ll be in Tokyo,’ I tell her. ‘And I’ll kiss you there, too.’

She pulls me into her then and her lips find my neck and my ears and the top of my chest. This woman, like water, is cool and fresh with diamond eyes that fill and glitter.

‘Every day I want to drink you,’ she says. ‘That doesn’t make sense, I know it doesn’t.’

‘I want to drink you, too,’ I reply.

With pure and unbreaking eye-contact we sit on the high leather stools and drink the wine. When the man in the green waistcoat asks if he can get us anything else I say, ‘the same again, please.’

‘I’m so impressed by you,’ she says. ‘How are you feeling?’

‘Good.’

‘Guilty?’ she asks.

‘Yes,’ I tell her honestly, ‘but we knew that would happen.’

‘We did.’

‘I wasn’t happy with him. I haven’t been for such a long time.’

She says nothing. She knows I am only talking to myself and she lets me.

‘He wasn’t good to me.’

‘Sweetheart, he was awful,’ she says, slowly, carefully.

‘Look,’ she says, glancing up at the board. ‘Gate fifty. Are you ready?’

‘Very much.’

What was once my husband’s backpack, I swing over my shoulder.

‘Wait,’ she calls, a little too loudly. She tips what was left from the glasses onto a black serviette and twists my arm sharply towards her. Our eyes met, but only for a second, because I think, in each other’s eyes, we see something that suddenly isn’t easy anymore.

I watch, as she scrubs dry crimson red off the inside of my wrist.

‘Okay,’ she breathes.

 

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