You have to do it right now. You turn down the 5 AM noise about the weather and immigration blaring out of the radio and softly say that you have something to tell her. You pause for a breath while resting your hand on the gearstick next to hers and say it in a hurried, single sentence. The silence is gaping except for regular punctures made by the wipers, which are squeaking feebly. It’s okay that she’s not looking at you because she really should keep her eyes on the road. Her mouth opens and closes as her eyes mist up, and she wraps her hand around yours. Slowly she turns towards you, and when your eyes lock her grip constricts. “You’re WHAT?” Her eyes are dry. They are projecting crosshairs onto yours. Silence. “I…” You begin to panic because your internal awareness of time has snapped but you’re fairly certain she hasn’t looked at the road for at least a minute and a half. As the motorway tapers into two lanes, your vehicle plows into the side-barrier and your skulls crack against the windshield. You are both killed instantly.
You’re sitting at an airport coffee shop drinking coffee that tastes like a stale muffin and eating a muffin, the chocolate chips of which taste like the burnt dregs in a cup of instant coffee. The suggestion that you arrive three hours early for international flights even though it’s never taken you more than twenty minutes to check-in and clear security really pisses you off. You have the same last name as a known terrorist and it still only takes twenty minutes, but they insist on it. You invariably end up poisoning yourself with non-edibles dressed as edibles while you wait for your flight. She looks at you and asks what’s wrong because the conversation has been limp. She says that you haven’t said anything in five minutes. You look up, and then lower your eyes and scrunch up your face like you’re trying to burn a hole in the imposter muffin. The words wince out. You imagine being able to actually burn a hole in the muffin and the welcome the distraction it would provide. When you look up and give a weak smile, you see that she is mentally igniting her slice of carrot cake. The ginger slivers of what seem to be leftover carrot shavings from yesterday’s salad are smoking ever so slightly. Turning toward the counter you say you need to ask where the bathroom is. When you get back to the table after sitting in a stall on a closed lid for five minutes, the bill is paid and she is gone.
You’ve finished your poison muffin and your stomach hurts. It’s only an hour and forty-five minutes until your flight so she’s bustling you toward the gates. The airport doesn’t have much furniture in its central section so it looks like the two of you are standing alone on a giant salt flat. You embrace tightly and squeeze your eyes shut, only opening them after you’ve pulled apart. You can feel her warm gaze on you as you stare at her feet. You notice that you’re beginning to cry. Your eyes remain firmly fixed on your feet as you whisper it. It’s embarrassing crying in public but there’s almost no one around. Hopefully there are just enough people that she can’t slap you. You’ve forgotten that she has no boundaries of social acceptability. She slaps you, turns around and walks away. You wait, knowing she won’t look back, before turning to the man and woman at the security desk. The man looks at you like an idiot for crying while the woman looks at you sympathetically. When you accidentally touch as you hand her your passport, she pulls away like your hand were a mousetrap.