Phoebe Wallace: September

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By Phoebe Wallace

A light breeze pushes its way through the sun’s subtle warmth outside of the busy street café. The season is changing already just as everything else, here for but a fleeting moment in time. Angel looks down at her tea, cupping it with both hands. She takes small sips and collapses against the wrought iron back of her chair. Sitting outside with her tea, croissant, and thoughts, she watches the people hustling like this is their last chance to get to wherever they are going, to do whatever they are going to do. She smiles thinking of their last moments. His eyes pierced her soul with so much love. Angel had made love to many men in her life, but he was the only one who made love to her soul. She closes her eyes as a warm breeze caresses her face, she embraces its gentleness and allows her thoughts to consume the moment.

“Angel, such a befitting name for you.” Samir’s deep raspy voice dances with every emotion she didn’t know she had.

“I guess you think I haven’t heard that line before. Can you not be more creative?” Angel smiles slightly, blinks her eyes flirting and turns back to the bar finishing her drink.

“Bartender, she will have another.”

Angel turns with swiftness. “An assumption I do not find very gentleman like, sir.” The Bartender pauses and pushes the drink slowly in front of her with a side-eyed smile. Angel nods with gratitude and a returned smile. “Samir, what are we doing? It was fun the first few times, now it’s just, well…”

Samir interrupts her. “My love, this is all on you. I have been honest with you about how I feel, and I know you feel it too; so, my question is, why are we still resorting to this?” He leans in and grabs Angel’s hand; she spins in her seat to face him. “I love you, Angel, and I know our worlds are different, but I am willing to step out on a limb for you. What about you, are you ready to walk with me on this journey? Sure, it is a bumpy road filled with sudden turns and steep cliffs on a rainy night, but I would weather any storm for us.” He raises Angel’s hands to his lips and kisses them, closes his eyes and rubs his stubbled cheek back and forth against her hand.

Angel closes her eyes feeling each soft hair caressing her hand as a tear finds its way to her cheeks. She pulls her hands away and swiftly wipes away the tears and throws the rest of her drink back. Her response is loud and clear to Samir. He sighs and he pushes the money to the bartender. Samir stands, rubs her back and leans to her ear. “I leave tomorrow, or we can leave together.” His smooth lips touch her ears and draws a line to her cheek where he leaves his love with a wet pressured kiss. Angel places her hand on his face in a gesture to return the kiss. Samir pulls away. “Tomorrow,” is all he said.

Angel looks at the bartender and nods, he slides her another drink. She stares at the olives as they yield to unwillingly being absorbed by the surrounding liquid. Lying cold, lifeless and submissive to an unforgiving environment slowly intoxicating them. She grabs the toothpick and rescues the olives, only to introduce them to a swiffer demise. She sighs and pushes the drink away. She reaches for her wallet and the bartender waves her on. As he takes the full glass and begins to wipe the counter, he looks up at Angel and says, “Choose wisely.”

Angel takes another sip of her tea which has been robbed of its warmth. She lets out a laugh masked as an exhale to a passerby, thinking how fitting that is as she has robbed herself of all the warmth she had encompassed. She met Samir two years ago on an assignment for work. The connection was immediate and obvious to the rare few who encountered their presence. Their different paths pulled them apart as consistently as their souls pulled them together. He had become the most amazingly confusing center of her existence. Every moment they shared tore them further from their paths and closer together. Were they each other’s destiny or was this their destiny?

She looks up between the buildings standing so tall they appear to be holding up the sky. A plane flies over and she closes her eyes as tears flow freely.

Summer is almost over, the chill in the air is changing. Angel looks around at the crowd devoid of children, remembering they have just returned to school. They are like the walking dead, mundanely droning to their daily task. No one gives thought to mortality; they all believe that tomorrow is sitting and waiting for them to join it. They mindlessly punch keys on their phones, sliding through cracks left by the crowds, never looking up or slowing down to absorb the beauty of another day. The earth is screaming for their attention, an attempt to remind them to inhale deeply because at any moment mother nature can throw a temper tantrum and destroy it all.

She props herself on her elbows leaning her forehead on her intertwined fingers, drowning with mental exhaustion. A tear rolls down her cheek; she opens her eyes to see her untouched croissant staring up at her. She presses on it softly and begins to examine the clinging flakes on her fingertips. Wiping her fingers, she peers into the window of the café. There is breaking news of a hijacked plane.

Angel takes the napkin from her lap and tosses it on her croissant as if it would stop it from begging her to take a bite. She overhears a conversation between two passersby, they are concerned about the news report and speculation is flying. Angel closes her eyes and shakes her head; it’s all too much, she wants to leave. She stands to hail a taxi; the congestion of this city doesn’t afford one the leisure of owning a car.

Another plane flies over, this one is closer. Angel stands there looking up at the empty space the plane left between the buildings. The sky looks down at her, angry, disappointed; it’s as if the overcast is mimicking the dark cloud slowly rolling over her soul. She thinks of Samir and all that could’ve been. But, today is tomorrow.

Angel closes her eyes and inhales deeply, remorsefully. Repentantly thinking, ‘I did nothing to stop this.’

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