Things Noticed When Saying Goodbye to a Woman I Would Never See Again
There was, of course, the white tile of the departures lobby, the one side that glimmered in its fresh wax and the other, waiting its turn, dulled by dirt tracked in on the soles of travelers’ shoes and by haphazard turns of wheeled suitcases and by the coffee that had just been spilled by the old woman who was more concerned with preventing the small dog she had on a leash from lapping it up in excited licks than she was with cleaning the mess itself, the cup and its plastic lid still lying on the floor, and the coffee running away from them both, down the grouted grooves, and the waxer on his wax machine now, none the wiser, inching along in straight lines and there we stood, between the two of them, and you had your big green backpack on already because we had already said goodbye several times over and I said look at us caught in the crossfire and you had the decency to force a laugh and a smile which I still appreciate now because you had long since known that I’m not great at goodbyes and there was also, of course, the family of four that maneuvered around us because we had not exactly chosen the best spot to stand and their two kids asking when they could go to the bathroom and us standing there and our gazes drifting elsewhere for a moment before returning with a smile that tried and failed to communicate what was not being said and there was, of course, the American Airlines employee in his pressed navy blue suit and their logo pinned to his lapel telling travelers yes, sir, right this way, or no, ma’am, this is for Sky Priority members only, or the bathroom? down the hall to the right and there was also, of course, the silence, not an absolute silence that one finds on the tops of mountains or in the hearts of forests unexplored but a louder silence, a silence that drowned out the mechanical groan of the waxer and the yips of the dog and the pleas of her owner to please, be quiet and the assurances of the parents that the kids could go to the bathroom very soon, just after they checked their luggage, and the measured responses of the airport attendant and even the thud-thud-thud of the suitcase wheels hitting the grooves of the tiled floor one after the other.
Andrew Schofield is a second-year MFA student at Georgia College and State University. This is his first publication.
Cover Photo by Roland Tanglao