3 January, 2016—Sunday
Decimation was nigh. Two hearts bled. What a pitiful sight. Imagine parallel trails of iron scented crimson staining the flooring as the lovers navigated the airport terminal, hand gripping hand.
Rowena mutely rehearsed a sendoff while fighting back the acid rising in her esophagus. Lucas blinked, and bit back tears, chewing open his bottom lip. The airport was practically a ghost town, and the calmness only added to their feelings of desolation.
At the top of the escalator, Lucas freed his hand from Rowena’s, and placed it at the small of her back, guiding her to a vacant bench. There they sat, looking at the weekend pictures Lucas had snapped with his mobile phone. Rowena felt a pang in her chest because she hadn’t bothered to take any pictures—she couldn’t have evidence for Adrian to find, of course.
“I like this one, here, of you in my shades. They suit your face.” Then Lucas placed the sunglasses in Rowena’s lap. “They do look better on you, baby.”
Rowena puckered her lips, and leaned in for a kiss. “Thank you. Now I need to give you something.”
“Oh, I have something,” he smirked. “I’d taken it upon myself to pack your pink panties into my luggage. I’ll not wash them. Ever. I’ll sleep with them under my pillow.” And they both laughed. The raucous turned the few sleepy heads.
“Lucas, I want you to know that we’re in this thing together. I am absolutely in love with you. I want you. Remember what I told you. I require you.”
“Do you? Really? Because I’m in too deep, Lady. Please don’t let me leave you thinking we have a future together if we don’t.”
“I’ll prove it to you.”
“Damn the gods! I don’t wanna go home without you.” His mouth squirmed in pain.
They held one another and cried until time tore them apart. One last kiss; the dive was bottomless and brief. It was as though she’d blinked, and found herself alone. Her flame flickered through security, dejected. The further away he moved, the dimmer he grew. Rowena watched him until he was no more, totally snuffed.
Concrete feet carried her as she wept all the way to the parking garage. She unlocked her car and opened the driver’s side door. The scent of his cologne, spiced citrus, clung to the interior. Lucas had made Rowena promise not to drive until she’d stopped crying. But she was never going to stop, so she slid in behind the wheel, and jabbed her key into the ignition switch.
I should have stopped him. I should have…
Take off. Lucas watched from his reclined window seat as everything below abandoned all detail, lost beneath unforgiving dumpling clouds.
A layover at Dulles International afforded him the opportunity to catch a nap at a Holiday Inn. But Lucas couldn’t help but notice the fine looking bar off the lobby, so he spent four of his six free hours imbibing on bourbon, neat. The bartender pitied Lucas, and slipped him a few tumblers now and again, on the house.
“What’s your lady’s name?” the bartender asked. Nice fellow.
“Rowena Fanning.” Lucas Davies slugged back the last of his drink. “I’m working on correcting her surname.”
“Rowena Davies.” She said the name aloud, speaking over the radio volume as she drove north. The airport was miles away. “Preach, Janis, preach.”
Little Girl Blue was a song best heard in a car speeding toward Hell, and with an aching heart. Rowena hit repeat, and increased the volume. “Tell me, Janis. How the fuck did things end up this way?”
Yes. How does a woman find herself naked and drunk, holed up in a shoddy motel room with a sensitive Englishman?
Rowena was mostly unhappy with her home life, married to a man she’d long stopped loving when she and Lucas first met online. No one in her real life circle knew of this Lucas, or the mutual friend through whom these two fell into a chasm of desperate love.