I got off the plane. I will tell him everything. How I caused a ruckus for the stewardess, because I don’t care if the doors are closed, and a baby wailed off key at my commotion, head tinted red. How a man in first class mumbled some question about how can I pass on Paris? And I ignored him, because if I there was no time to explain.
Au revoir, monsieur.
I’m leaving for the boy who said my name at the altar with another woman. Who started a club for how much he hated me in high school, and once made a list of everything wrong with me. The boy who will never shut up about We were on a break.
I will find him where I left him, too relieved at his face to think of my own story.
Abandon Paris for a kiss.
We will give our little girl a brother, to raise in a neighborhood close enough to the city for a professor to commute. A professor who once had a fling with a student, then chided her for going to the beach on spring break. Who maybe will move past flirting with students, but will still make me feel like I know nothing because I don’t care for fossils. He will jokingly lament that it’s the girl who shares his obsession with dinosaurs. The boy will draw galaxies with crayon at the kitchen table.
I will whisper Je t’adore to his midnight breaths. Just to let my insomniac ears feast on the words.
I will still learn French.
And I will tell my girl and boy to dream like they know the texture of the stars, because I worked my way from burnt coffee and a dirty apron to the job I didn’t know I could dream for. The job I will eventually quit, because my professor will not delay studying fossils to help with the kids. I will envy my sister-in-law, whose husband will help ensure her restaurant never shutters, no matter how much salt she puts in the soup.
I will suggest a trip to France and he will always say, Next year.
And maybe I will one day remember this, the grimy, gray seat, the airport lit up out the window, the time he made me cry on Thanksgiving, and become a woman haunted by myself. Always wondering who I could would should have been.
I stay on the plane. Be still and turn off my phone before I can leave the voicemail that would change my mind. Let the tears fun down my cheeks because I love him, still, and to love someone, anyone, is to paint a comet across the sky. Or is it an airplane? Coasting down the tarmac to take off, the floor rattling under my feet, because to love myself is even more precious, and I can never be with someone who makes me choose.
Blake Richardson is a writer based in the Washington, D.C. area with a background in journalism and an affinity for fiction. She is a 2020 nominee to the Best Microfiction anthology.