I noticed her heel-click-hip-twist hourglass silhouette as we walked toward bright light at the end of a long corridor between Terminal B and Terminal C. My husband, teenage son, and all the other travelers flowed past on the electric walkway: She and I the only ones who'd chosen to move on our own locomotion. She clicked along a good twenty feet ahead of me, blonde hair in a chignon, a few locks flying loose around her face. She trod with long-strided purpose. But her heels could not outpace my flats. I caught up, though I did not overtake her. That's when I noticed the zipper pull on the back of her uniform: a little silver plane-shaped pendant hanging three or four inches from the top of the zipper on a blue jeweled chain.
Did the dress come that way? I asked.
No, she said.
I like it.
Thanks, she said. She smiled with dimples.
The winged pin on her chest, which I'd hoped would say her name, said, "The Netherlands."
I'd never been. So many places I’d been... But not there.
I slowed my stride to match hers. She noticed me noticing.
You should come, she said.
We both walked more slowly. She brushed the inside of my palm with her fingertips.
I should, I said, blushing harder.
My men hailed me from the end of the hall like a pair of foregone conclusions: I hurried to rejoin them.
I didn't know then we'd be on the same flight; where she would serve me water and champagne, coq au vin, strawberry tarts, honeydew like a plate of crescent moons, and for breakfast an omelet and rose-petal tea; where my men would sleep, one row up, snoring, farting, oblivious; where I'd spend the eight and a half hours between Paris and Boston awake, dreaming of pulling her zipper; where she would offer, in the dark, on her break, somewhere over the Atlantic, to “tuck me in”; and where I would, foolishly, decline.
Jennifer Companik holds an M.A. from Northwestern University and is a fiction editor at TriQuarterly. Her accomplishments include: Pushcart Prize Nominee, Border Crossing; first prize, The Ledge’s 2014 Fiction Awards; and work appearing or forthcoming in: Adanna, Muse, and Northern Virginia Review. By reading her work you are participating in one of her wildest dreams.
FLASH GLASS: A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF FLASH FICTION, PROSE POETRY, & MICRO ESSAYS
Cover Image: "A Peaceful Coexistence Part II"