Saturday 24 June 2023

'The Waiting Game' by S.B. Borgersen

Waiting In Arrivals

He picks up pale pink carnations from the gas station, clutching them so tight they fold. It’s a  day for Sunday Best. Best blue and white striped shirt with blue and red silk tie. Best black dress shoes. Polished. Norman exudes a faint bitter almond smell of shoe polish, creaks smartness, jumping at numbers clacking amber on the Arrivals board. He moistens his lips, holds up his sign, and watches people rattle luggage-laden carts through the gate. When his mail-order bride click-clacks across the marble floor—all stilettos—faux leopard coat—long scarlet finger nails, he wishes he’d bought roses.

Waiting for the 3.15 from Birmingham

The bus timetable warps green splotches behind plexiglass. Your eyes follow your finger through murk, tracing the stops, finding yours, wondering if she’s remembered to come. The bus shelter’s concrete floors are deeply slimed with stinking debris. The walls are opaque with dank condensation and time. The #9 snorts diesel fumes. Josie alights in a lavender cotton dress. Her smile is the same as it was when she stepped down onto Kindley Field’s runway, where the tarmac hazed to the Bermudian heavens.

Waiting last Wednesday afternoon

She sits on the next to bottom step of her celadon green carpeted stairs. Her glasses are in her navy peccary leather handbag beside her. She waits, ready to leap into action. She watches through the reeded glass of her front door. Figures move out there in vertical stripes. A prism world of grey and white. Pauline’s eyes flicker back and forth watching, waiting as the minutes on her grandmother clock cluck in time with her nails on the stairs’ black lacquered newel post. Veronica will wear daffodil yellow; she said so.

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