THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN POSTED LAST WEEK, SORRY ABOUT THE CONFUSION.
I was doing the one thing I didn’t want to do.
Sitting in the hard plastic seat at gate seventeen, I thought about how much I wanted to get on that plane and relax. It was a foolish wish. Even with the first class ticket Marion had bought as a guilty leash to pull me home with, I knew no amount of padding would make this return a comfortable one.
The stiff back of the chair was encouraging the knot that was slowly tangling between my shoulder blades. I knew exactly what this was: Marion doing whatever she could to rope me into staying. She wanted her son with his perfect marriage and doting wife back.
There was a large wrinkle in her plan. We’d never had the perfect marriage and I certainly never was the doting wife. We’d put up a wonderful farce. I couldn’t lie. The first year or so had been fine – it wasn’t spectacular by any means. John hadn’t been any happier than I had. Sometimes I think the only reason we stayed together was his dreadful father.
It’s an ironic thing to think about… but it’s true. That man scared me to death and I hated him for it. Now that he was gone, the only one in the family who knew about John Senior’s vindictive ways was his wife. Regardless of how she’d treated me after the funeral, that phone call had said it all. I was expected to maintain the Krieff family values. A set of rules engrained into their heads so deeply that it ran through their blood, but not in mine.
The phone buzzed and I answered it without looking at the caller ID. At this point there was no point hiding from anyone.
“Mrs. Krieff, I’m with the La Grande Gazzette and we have it on good authority that you’ve separated from your husband. I’d be grateful if you’d care to comment.”
“You’ve got a wrong number.” I hung up the phone with out another word. That was the easiest way to get rid of press vultures. Saying “No comment” translated to “call me back” to most of them.
The phone buzzed again and I answered, annoyed, “I said, you have a wrong number.”
“Are you sure?” Eli laughed and I felt some of my tension slipping away.
On the list of places I’d rather be right now, with Eli was number one on the list. “Sorry, a reporter from Oregon just called me.”
“I thought we’d grab lunch, where can I pick you up?”
I winced at the question. I’d hoped to be out of the state before I told him my plans. “I’m at the airport.”
I’d told him about the call and the plane ticket the next day. I hadn’t told him I was going to use it.
“Zoe, don’t do it. You know she’s just trying to suck you in and make you stay.” Eli’s words were pained and the dry ache of disappointing him clutched at my throat.
“I can’t hide forever. If I don’t go back now, it will just get harder.” I finally realized what was important enough to me to force me to hand my boarding pass to the gate agent. “I want the lie I’ve been living all these years to finally be over.”
Flipping off the phone, I followed the others down the jet way and sat in the plush seat. I may not have paid for the ticket, but I was going home on my own terms this time.
I made one last call before the flight attendant sent out the all call for any electronic devices to be shut down and settled into the ridiculously comfortable seat.
Dry << >>Puddle
This is a piece of ongoing fiction inspired by The Red Dress Club’s Red Writing Hood Prompts. This Week’s prompt was to write about what your character wants most.