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March 16, 2016 | Fiction

Red-eye

Kristen Rouisse

Red-eye photo

We’re 36 hours in and the moon looks heavy; saggy inside the window’s curve. I’m humming the same song for the sixteenth time because I haven’t quite figured out how to close a wound. Eventually you’ll forgive me, though currently your fists are balled into the small gaps on either side of your seat.

You tell me you wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail before you died. You say you wanted to adopt a mutt and name her Margo.

Your fingers fumble with the seatbelt’s metal latch. You say you don’t feel safe. That safety is a bigger lie than Jesus.

You tell me you should’ve married that waitress from Japan. You tell me her hair was so shiny it glowed in the dark.

You’re mildly attractive for an ill man. Your shoulders are broad; when the sharp corner of one brushes against my neck at take off, I have uncomfortable thoughts.

You tell me you could never imagine yourself old, anyway, skin soft and foldable. You say you always wanted to join the Mile High Club.

The bathroom is bright and my eyes burn. The overhead light flickers with turbulence. Your breath is warm and until now I’ve never thought of cancer as something contagious. I unhook the buckle of your belt and you fumble with the rest. Suddenly everyone feels ugly. You blame it on the meds.

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