Short story: mikaela shea

Short story: mikaela shea

Saturday Mornings

"I wanted you to be the first to know," Rowan said, looking at me through the glass that separated us. “I just…thought it would be best if you heard it from me.”

I lowered the phone and shook my head, pinching the bridge of my nose to keep from crying. Crying was not an acceptable thing to do behind bars. I put the phone back to my burning ear. “Five years together… I’m in here losing my goddamn mind missing you and you’re out there dating? That’s fucked up, Row.”

“You’ve been in here two of those five years, Vic!” She was always quick to raise her voice. “—With no timeframe on when you’re getting out. What the hell do you expect me to do? Put my life on pause for a decade or more in hopes that you’ll get out? And then we can just resume like we’re both the same people? That’s selfish. Selfish is what got you in here in the first place.” I always thought it was cute how riled up she could get over nothing but today it grated my nerves. Today she came to me with the bad news, the worst news. I was losing the last thing I cared about.

 I sat gritting my teeth, just looking at her. Her olive skin was browned from the sun she no doubt had spent lots of time in, while mine was the palest brown it’s ever been, from two years of hardly seeing the sun at all. Her full, dark hair had grown long since I’d been imprisoned, flowing far past her shoulders in waves. The hint of aging sprouted from the corners of her hazel eyes and shadows gathered beneath them. Everything I did was for her, not me. “You know I can’t talk about that through this glass.”

“We can’t talk about anything through this glass. We haven’t talked about anything since you’ve been in here. I’m going to be thirty next month, you know. I want to get married and have kids, remember?”

“Yeah, with me! That was the plan.” I almost yelled. That’s when I noticed she wasn’t wearing the ring.

“That’s not possible anymore.” She said putting her finger up as if to keep me from interrupting, crossing her thick legs and turning her body away from me. “And don’t act like that’s my fault. Had you not screwed things up, we’d be married already.”

We sat there, each of us clenching our teeth. I didn’t know what to say. “You know, if selfish is wanting you to have that life with me, then I guess I am pretty goddamn selfish.”

Tears started to trickle down over her high cheekbones and my stomach clenched. “This isn’t how I wanted us to end. ” She dug into her pocket then held up the princess cut ring I’d given her. “I took this because I had planned on us never ending.” She looked at it intently, then up at me. “I’ll give this to you when...when you get out. Or I can, you know, give it to your brother to hang on to for you.”

My nose was starting to run, my eyes watering up. “Listen, do whatever you want with it. I gotta go,” I said, standing. “I hope this guy you’re leaving me for is as good to you in bed as I am.” I hung up the phone, stared at her for a few seconds, because I didn’t know when I’d see her again. “Bye, Row,” I mouthed to her. New tears welled up in her eyes as she narrowed them at me. Why did you do this to me? she mouthed back. I knocked on the door for the CO to let me out, wiped my eyes, and took a deep breath.

***

I wrote Rowan almost every day in the beginning. Apologizing mostly, telling her I’d be out soon. I couldn’t sleep at night, instead thinking of all that I’d stolen from her. I thought of her smile. My god, did she have the most beautiful smile. And then I’d become the reason for her sadness. I’d ruined everything we’d built together, made it crumble down all around her and she was standing in the middle of the rubble alone.

After a year, Rowan got tired of hearing me say I’d be out soon. In the first letter she’d written me in weeks, she said, You need to find a new word. Soon doesn’t mean what you think it does. Soon is how you told me you were in love with me a couple weeks after we started dating, after we made love in the dark. That’s soon. Do you remember? I hardly do anymore.

 

***

Here’s how we met. At the end of a long shift of cooking food at the hospital cafeteria, the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen wandered in, head down, looking around at the various stations in confusion. She looked up and saw me behind the grill and her eyebrows raised ever so slightly in surprise. As she approached me, she urgently tried combing her thick hair with her fingers.

“Hi, what can I get for you?” I said, smiling. She seemed startled by my smile as she studied my face.

“I…wow, I haven’t been smiled at in the three days I’ve been here. That’s nice. That’s refreshing. Um, I’ll take a…an omelet,” she said, not bothering to look at the menu.

“Breakfast for dinner? I like that,” I said, nodding.

“Oh, wow, I didn’t even realize it was…” She turned and gazed out the large windows out in the hallway. The sky was black at the top, rainbow sherbet where the sun was dipping low. “It’s…night time. Wow, I am so unaware right now.”

“It is. No worries, though. If it’s breakfast you want, it’s breakfast you shall have,” I grinned, squirting oil onto the grill with a sizzle. “Any special requests for this omelet?”

“Oh. Uh…no. You can just surprise me,” she said, rubbing underneath her hazel eyes. “I don’t have much of an appetite anyway.”

“I can bring it out to you when it’s done.”

She nodded and wandered out to find a table by the windows. I couldn’t help but notice her curvy hips and butt as she walked away.

I threw tomatoes, bacon, and yellow peppers into the eggs as I watched the woman getting lost in whatever she was staring at outside. I topped it with cheese and avocado slices, hoping she’d like it. I couldn’t wait to finish cooking and be in her presence again.

“Your breakfast for dinner,” I said, setting the omelet and a glass of orange juice in front of her. I’d removed my apron and hairnet and let my black curls loose.

“Oh, thank you,” She said, swiping the tears from under her mind-blowing hazel eyes. Green with a burst of orange near her pupil.

“Hey…are you okay?” I asked, pulling off my burgundy work polo. “I’m off now, so if there’s anything I can do to help…”

“Do I look that bad? I mean, I know I do,” She said, running her fingers through her hair in a last-ditch effort to tame it.

“No, you…you’re beautiful.” She looked up at me and touched her cheek. “You just look very sad.”

“I…I haven’t talked to anybody in three days, aside from doctors with bad news.”

 “I’m Victory. No joke, my mother named me Victory. Call me Vic, though. Please.” She took my outstretched hand and smiled. “Wow, there it is,” I said, shaking my head. “Stunning.”

Her smile grew. “I’m Rowan. So how did your mother decide to name you Victory?”

“The doctors told my mom she wouldn’t be able to have kids but then she got pregnant with me. I’m Victory and my brother, born two years later, is Roberto. He always complained his name was lame and below average. I started calling him Below Average. He hated it.” She laughed and took a bite of her omelet.

“May I?” I gestured at the chair across from her and she nodded eagerly as she took another bite. I sat down in the chair across from her. “So three days, huh?”

Rowan sighed and set her fork down. “Yeah, my mother called me three nights ago saying she couldn’t breathe. She was unconscious when we got there.” She looked down at her plate and pushed it away. “She had a massive heart attack and they don’t know if she’s going to pull through. She hasn’t woken up.”

I tapped my hand on the table between us and she looked up at me. “I am so sorry,” I said, looking her right in the eye.

Over the next couple of days, after my shifts and on my day off, I sat with Rowan in her mother’s room. If she wanted to talk, I listened. Most of the time, we just sat and waited. I offered her my hand and she took it.

When her mother died, I made sure Rowan got home.

 

A few days after her mother’s funeral, we were sitting on Rowan’s couch, drinking some red wine. Pinot Noir, maybe. “Can I be honest?” I said.

“Always,” she said, taking a sip, breaking her gaze from the photo of her and her mother on the fireplace mantle to look me in the eyes.

“I’ve wanted to kiss you from the moment I saw you at the hospital. No joke, from the moment you approached me at the grill. I just wanted to give you time to process everything you’ve been going through.” I looked her in the eyes. Today she’d worn makeup for the first time since I met her and I didn’t know which way I found her more beautiful. “I don’t think I can wait a minute more.” I grinned. “Shit, I don’t know how I lasted this long.”

“Ditto,” she smiled and summoned me closer with her finger.  I couldn’t get to her lips fast enough. They were sweet and soft and I’d be lying if I said that kiss didn’t make me want all of her.

As if she read my thoughts, she guided my hand up her shirt to cup her soft, round breast. With her other hand, she fiddled with the button of my pants. I went hard immediately, like I was thirteen all over again. “It’s not the wine, I swear,” she whispered between kisses. “I’ve wanted this.”

I pulled her shirt off over her head and gently gripped her hips and slid her down so she was lying on her back, arms overhead. “You have no idea,” I said, kissing her lips, her neck that smelled sweet like vanilla. I undid her pants and the way she wriggled her curvy hips out of them was sexy as hell. I unhooked her bra and kissed her bare breasts. She let out a sigh and wrapped her legs around my waist and brought me down against her, guiding me right where she wanted me. Neither of us lasted very long that first time.

Afterward, I lay next to her, staring into her eyes, tracing my finger along her jawline, down between her breasts, and over her stomach. I couldn’t wait to do it again. “I want to be with you,” I whispered in her ear, kissing her earlobe. She nodded.

“I’m yours,” she whispered back, smiling.

 

From that day on, I stayed over at Row’s place at least five or six days out of the week. It was a really up-to-date apartment with lots of windows, a balcony, black quartz countertops and white cabinets. Her couch was a cream color and her walls were covered in teal and blue decorations, framed pictures, an intricate peacock made out of marbles.

In comparison, my apartment was pretty bare. My bedroom consisted of a dresser and a mattress that sat on the floor. My kitchen was circa 1992. I was single and 25 years old. I didn’t know shit about what made a home, nor did I have the money to do so. When Rowan asked to see it, I showed her and she didn’t even flinch or blink differently.

Rowan was a manager in her company’s HR department and I had no idea what she saw in me outside of our physical attraction. She must have been in a stupor when she gave me the time of day at the hospital, or just really lonely and sad.

I loved Rowan too much to draw attention to how inferior I must be.

On the weekends, we’d make love before we got out of bed, then take a walk and eat breakfast in a nearby café. We’d sometimes walk for so long that we would have to go home and take a nap. We’d shower, sit out on the balcony with coffee, and watch the people walk by, making up stories about where they were going, where they’d come from. In the evenings, Rowan would lose herself in a book and I’d look at a magazine or watch a game. We’d have a drink together before making whatever recipes we’d stumbled upon during the week for dinner.

Ten months in, when my lease was up, I told her I wanted to move in. “I always want to be here anyway. What’s the point of having my own place?”

“I always want you here too,” she said.

“I’ll pay half the rent,” I said.

She shrugged. “Just whatever you can is fine.” I knew then that she thought I couldn’t afford half on my cafeteria worker salary. In my mind, I vowed I’d find something better, prove to her that I could pull my weight, and then do it.

 We moved all my stuff in that night.

Another half a year later, on a Saturday, I had the chef at our café put the ring I’d bought on top of the Belgian waffle I knew she’d order. She cycled through the following: omelet, Belgian waffle, soufflé, yogurt parfait. She was chattering away when they brought her waffle out and before she even looked down at it, she started pouring syrup all over it. I smirked as she rambled on. “What?” she asked, smiling and setting down the syrup bottle. “What’s so funny?” I stared at her waffle and she looked too. Her mouth dropped open and she plucked the ring up, syrup dripping from it. “Oh, my gosh, yes, baby! What do I do?” I took it from her and swished it clean in my water before getting down on the floor in front of her to slip it on her finger. She wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me like no one was watching.

 

Work got really busy for Row after we got engaged. She was promoted and worked long hours, built up her 401k and her savings while I bounced from job to job trying to figure out what to do with my life. Conversations about money left me flustered and ashamed. We met when she was vulnerable and some insecure part of me I didn’t know existed sometimes wondered if that was why we were together.

A few months before the wedding Row said she wanted to start looking for a condo or a house.

“I want to find a better job first. I’m not going to have you paying all the bills, Row.”

 “I don’t care,” she’d said, “We’re going to be married and I don’t believe in all that ‘men have to be breadwinners’ stuff.”

“When you met me, I was a cafeteria worker,” I said, leaning back on the couch covering my eyes and sighing. “You make like quadruple my monthly income. It’s pathetic.

“Did that matter to me? No. You were so sexy, Vic.”

“I don’t even know why you gave me the time of day. A cafeteria worker.”

 “Your dimples, caramel skin, glossy curls, and those eyes. Oh, my gosh, baby, move your hand. Let me look at them.”

“You’re a human resources manager, about to marry a guy who delivers packages by bike.”

“Vic, it’s a good job with a steady paycheck. Plus,” she said, reaching up my shirt, “It keeps those abs right.” She giggled.

I rolled my eyes. “I felt I was meant for more than that, Row.”

“Then what? What do you want to do? What do you want to be, baby?”

“I don’t know!” I practically yelled. “I’ve been trying to figure that out for years. The only thing I’m sure of, the only thing I know I want is you.”

“Then have me,” she said, climbing onto my lap and straddling me, grinning. “You had me at that ridiculous omelet you made me in my time of need.”

I uncovered my eyes and looked at her, smiling. It didn’t take much for her to make me smile. “You kill me, woman,” I said, before pulling her closer and kissing her.

 

Shortly after that conversation, I browsed the internet and stumbled upon some sketchy gig that required driving an unmarked van to pick up boxes of I-don’t-know-what from a dingy, all-but-abandoned warehouse on one side of town and delivering it to an equally ominous warehouse on the other side of town. It paid $500 per trip and I made that trip as many times a week as they asked me, sometimes multiple times per day. I’d watch my phone, commanding it to ding so I could make that trip and earn us money.

I didn’t disclose my new job to Row. I only told her I was picking up more hours, doing some special time-sensitive deliveries, hauling more packages than I used to—all of which was true. It was temporary—a way to make some extra money until I figured out what was next. Our wedding was a few months away and we were paying for it ourselves.

Every time I made that trip, I was giddy. Giddy about the money I’d make, worried I’d look suspicious—a Hispanic man in an unmarked van—and get caught. Part of me wanted to look in those boxes to see what I was delivering, but the other part of me knew that could get me killed. That was a sign I shouldn’t have been doing it, but I didn’t care to listen to my gut. In the end, it didn’t matter to me. The money mattered. Finally, I could pay all of the bills if I wanted to. I could take Row out to a really nice dinner, come home with a book I thought she’d like or an expensive bottle of wine. I paid for her wedding dress, the down payment on our reception location, and our plane tickets to our honeymoon in Hanoi, Vietnam. It felt good.

 

One hot day, I went out to lunch with my brother and one beer turned into four, and at the end of our two hours of appetizers, beer, and laughs, I got a text that I was needed for a pick-up. I took a bus to retrieve the van and drove as carefully as possible to the warehouse. The guy in the cut-off tee and brightly-colored tattoo sleeves loaded the boxes as always. This was probably my 80th run for them.

On the way to the drop-off warehouse, a string of things happened. It was raining so hard that my windshield wipers couldn’t keep up, so I didn’t see a pothole as deep as a kiddie pool, filled to the brim with dark rainwater. The steering wheel jerked violently and I lost control of the van. This caused me to run a red light, though I didn’t realize it until I was halfway through the intersection, a delivery truck barreling toward me, nearly T-boning me.

The next thing I knew, I was being pulled over. I looked at myself in the dingy rearview mirror. My eyes were wide open, but laced with rivulets of red. “You been drinking?” the officer asked, standing right up against the van. His head hardly cleared the bottom of my window, he was so short, but he stood with his shoulders back, his neck stretched to the sky as if he was the tallest guy on the planet. Rain pelted his black uniform and bounced right off.

I kept my hands on the wheel. “I hit a pothole, sir,” I said, my heart racing. “The wheel jerked and I was trying to keep control.”

“While you were doing all of that, do you know that you ran a red light?”

“Yes, and all I can say is it was an honest mistake, a heat-of-the-moment reaction. I was worried about keeping on the road and failed to look up at the light, unfortunately. I apologize, officer.”

He frowned, leaned forward, and took an audible whiff, his nostrils doubling in size. “You reek of booze.”

“If I’m being honest, I had one beer at lunch, sir,” I confessed, thinking my honesty would get me off the hook.

“Why don’t you step out of the vehicle for me,” he said, hands on his belt. It wasn’t a request; it was an order.

The beers roiled around in my stomach. “Okay, sure thing, sir.” I prayed that the nachos and chicken strips had soaked up enough beer, that enough time had passed for me to pass whatever tests he was about to give me. “I’ll just unbuckle myself here,” I said, slowly reaching over. The officer backed up as I opened my door. I towered over him.

I walked the line flawlessly as rain smeared itself all over my face and arms. I touched my nose and stood on one foot, all that jazz. The entire time, the cop looked at me with his lips pressed together. With his sunglasses on, I couldn’t read his expression. “I’d like for you to take a breathalyzer test,” he said. He grabbed my shoulder, reaching up to do so, and led me to his car. He opened the back door and shoved me in.

I failed. Just barely. My car was searched and to both our surprises, the boxes were full of bags of coffee beans on top and bags of cocaine on the bottom. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know that. That’s what they all say, I was told. 

 

I didn’t get to say goodbye to Row. I couldn’t talk about it on the phone and only in hushed whispers during the few times she visited, tears constantly streaming from her eyes. “I did it for us. I wanted to contribute more. I didn’t know.”

Her hand sat on the edge of the table, near her chest. I hadn’t touched her in weeks at this point and I missed the littlest things from brushing up against her when we cooked to kisses goodbye and the sex. Oh god, the sex.

“You ruined everything,” she whispered. “I loved you—all of you—just the way you were. You were always so worried about the money, Vic. Well, now you can’t contribute money or anything else either.” She said it like her words were sour and she wanted to spit them out as fast as she could. “You can’t hug me when I get home. You’re not there to talk to, to go to breakfast with me on Saturday, or make love to me. I’m alone, Vic. You left me all alone.” She put her face in her hands and sobbed. I reached for her hand and she jerked it away. “Please, don’t,” she said from behind her hands. “It hurts.”

 

One spring day the warden told me I was going home. The sun shone through the slats in his blinds and striped my skin with hot sunshine. It was a Thursday and I was so relieved and stunned that I couldn’t say a word in response. I sat there as he went into detail about how the ring of men I’d delivered for had been arrested, how the police had questioned them and they said I had no role in what they were doing except for blind deliveries. “I’m sure you realize the stupidity of your decision to drive an unmarked van with God-knows-what inside.”

“That doesn’t scratch the surface of how I feel about that decision, sir.”

“Well, I don’t like seeing repeats so don’t come back. This isn’t a goddamn hotel.”

“You won’t see me again,” I said.  My legs shook with the overwhelming feeling of being out of this box and outside with the rest of the giant world. Black spots speckled my vision. “Oh, man. I need a minute, sir,” I said, putting my head between my knees and taking deep breaths.

“I got shit to do, kid. Besides, the world’s out there waiting for you and it’s hoping you’ll fuck up again.”

 

Rob, my younger brother, picked me up, hugging me tight as I approached his car. “Bro,” he said, smiling hard. As we drove to his apartment, I watched the stoplights change from green to yellow to red, watched the people walking freely, the geese flocking to the river. There were new businesses since I’d been out. Everything was different. Even the things that were the same were altered to me now.

We drove past the café Row and I used to go to every Saturday and it was still there, still the same sign with an old bicycle mounted above it. I imagined us in there week after week, eating, laughing, kissing, reading the paper, our feet mingling under the table. If I could pick one thing in my entire life to have back, it would be Saturdays with her at that café.

The next morning, I woke up hungry for a huge, warm, tasty breakfast. Before Rob woke, I showered, got dressed, and walked a mile and a half in the brilliant morning sunshine to that café. For all I knew, Row lived somewhere else in the city with her new boyfriend. I knew she probably didn’t go there on Saturdays anymore.

I ordered so much food at the counter that the cashier started giggling each time I added something to it: scrambled eggs with cherry tomatoes and avocado slices, a stack of buttermilk pancakes, a bowl of fresh fruit, a side of bacon, two slices of multigrain toast, a yogurt parfait, a coffee, a glass of orange juice. She waited until I hadn’t added anything to the order for a good ten seconds before grinning, eyebrows raised, “Will that be all?”

I ate every single bite which took the better part of an hour, then read the newspaper because I was too full to budge.

After finishing, I set the newspaper down and froze when I looked up to see Rowan walking from the back of the café toward the door, which meant she’d soon be passing my table. She didn’t notice me. Since the six months since I’d seen her, she hadn’t changed much. Her hair was shorter, cut just below her shoulders and a small smile was on her lips. I hadn’t seen her smile in over two and a half years. She wore tan wedge boots, a patterned knee-length skirt that hugged her beautiful hips, and a white t-shirt with layers of necklaces around her neck.

When she got close enough to touch, I gently took hold of her hand. “Wow, you still come here on Saturday mornings,” I said. She froze in place, facing the door, then slowly turned to me. “Vic?” she said, jerking her hand away. Her mouth hung open for a few seconds. “What—how are you here?” 

“I was released on Thursday,” I said, looking into her eyes that matched the green and sunny orange of the river I’d passed on the walk here.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were getting out?”

 “Well, Rowan…” my eyes narrowed, my brows coming together in confusion, “We didn’t exactly leave off on happy terms. You moved on.”

“I…”

“Will you sit?” I asked. Row glanced around, nervously putting her fingers to her thick lips, then sat. “So you never stopped coming here on Saturday mornings?”

She stared into my eyes as if she was trying to determine that I was real. I smiled and she shook her head. “I’m sorry, what did you ask?”

“I asked if you’ve ever stopped coming here on Saturday mornings.”

“No, I haven’t. Well, there were a couple Saturdays, after you went to…It was hard to come here alone. It’s not the same, but I got used to it.”

Before I realized what I was doing, I reached for Row’s hand and rested mine on hers. She flinched. “Please. Please, just let me,” I said. She did. I stroked the top of her hand with my thumb. I’d waited a long, long time to touch her. Rowan covered her face with her other hand.  “I’m so sorry, Row,” I said in a whisper. She nodded, wiping the tears that were slipping from her eyes, sucking in air.

“This is such a shock, Vic,” she said from behind her hand. “This is too much. I need to go.” She stood, looking like she just stepped off a choppy ship and she was trying to regain her balance. She looked me in the eyes once more before practically running for the door.

And just like that she was gone.

 

***

Nothing about the way Rowan had reacted when I saw her at the café indicated that going back the next week was a particularly good idea, but I couldn’t stop myself. After I ordered my coffee, I roamed around looking for her. I found her in a sectioned off space in the back, reclining in a plaid chair, reading a book. Her legs were crossed, her hair shielding her face from me. As if she sensed me, she lifted her chin and jolted her head toward me, putting her hand to her heart as if she’d seen a ghost.

“Can I sit?”

She nodded. I settled into a chair beside her.

“Look,” she said, closing her book with her finger marking where she’d left off, “I’m sorry about last week—about the way I reacted.”

“I think I deserved that,” I said, glancing over at her.

Her eyes met mine. “I wish you would’ve told me you were getting out.”

I looked down at my hands. “Believe me, you were the first person I wanted to tell, but if you have something going with somebody else… Well, I think I’ve fucked up enough of your life.”

Row stayed quiet. My heart dropped. She opened the book, folded down a corner and leaned forward to place it on the bookshelf.  “I wanted there to be someone else,” she said. “It would’ve been easier to replace you than to just ache for you every day. I dated somebody very briefly and I told you because I wanted to be honest with you.” She paused and twisted her bracelet. “I also…wanted to distance myself from you. It hurt too much.” Row looked up at the light, blinking her eyes rapidly. A tear rolled down her cheek anyway. “Nobody…nothing else feels right. I mean, losing my mother—the only person I had—would have been unbearable, but then I met you all in the same week, in the same place. When I looked at you, talked to you, when you held my hand while I prayed for her not to die, I felt like I wouldn’t be alone when she did.”

I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose, hard. Row took my hand and moved it away from my nose. “You don’t have to do that here,” she said, holding onto my hand.

Without the pressure of my finger and thumb, I couldn’t keep from crying. I quickly swiped the tears before they even left my eyes and took a deep breath. “I just want to get my life together. More together than it was before. I found a job and I’m staying with my brother while I find my own place.” I looked at the bookshelf, glancing over the spines as I worked up the nerve to keep talking. “No matter what goes right, though, it’s just…not the same out here anymore. I fucked up everything.” All that time with Row and I’d worried about money so much that it interfered with the one relationship that meant something to me.

Row stood up and pulled me to my feet. She wrapped her arms around my neck and I put my arms around her waist. I felt her body shaking, her face buried in my chest and let down my emotional dam and bowed my head, crying into her vanilla-scented hair. “Please forgive me, Row. I’m not asking you to get back with me, but please, over time, I hope you’ll forgive me.”

She nodded into my chest. “I want to.” We embraced like that for a few minutes. Nothing in two and a half years felt as good as hugging her, feeling her warmth against me. We sat down, wiping our eyes. Row looked at me, squeezed my hand, and smiled. “Being able to look at your face right now…you have no idea what that means to me.”

“I think I do,” I said, sitting back down. “I swear I’m not that damn soft. Two and a half years of being in that cage…I guess a lot of shit just got boxed up with me.”

“Like you showing emotion ever mattered to me, Vic,” she said. “We were all meant to cry.”

I nodded and we sat there for a couple minutes in silence, sipping our coffees. “Well, let’s go,” I said, standing.

She looked up at me, amused. “Where are we going?”

“On a walk. You know, like we always do after we eat breakfast here on Saturday mornings.” It was worth a shot.

She smiled, put on her jacket, and we walked out of the café.

 

about the writer: mikaela shea

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Mikaela Shea received her MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. She has published stories in Midwestern Gothic, Copperfield Review, Hypertext Magazine, and others. Mikaela won the Editor's Choice Award for Fiction at Waypoints Magazine and Superstition Review's First Page Contest. Mikaela is founder and Editor-in-Chief of 3Elements Review and is currently looking for a home for her novel. She lives in Iowa with her husband and three little ones. 


Instagram: @mikaelasfowler

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