There were few safe public places left to meet, but we knew we’d be among strangers at the Aeroplane Zoo Cafe. My heartbeat was heartbeat, heartbeat, heartbeat as I entered our foreign town.
You soon sat at my side, and told me about your new concert. A different album each show, starting with the first. Decades, decades, decades, and another decade ago.
We did not recognize the 4,373 days since we’d last sat together but we did not need to. In our former decade we had known that one of us would have to leave, and we had known that I was the only one capable of killswitch.
We ordered cocoa and talked. Renee’s death. The return to music. The decade-long beach stay. The unfinished script. The river overlook. The secret closet.
The killswitch? It sounded like a fake gunshot in an old Western.
We ordered wine and talked. Tyler’s death. The turnable. The child. The Barbary. The aeroplane. The radio show.
The killswitch sounded.
This time, you left. I stayed. I stayed! I stayed with the strangers at the Aeroplane Zoo Cafe.
Vallie Lynn Watson's Pushcart-nominated work appears widely in journals such as PANK, FRiGG Magazine, and Pure Slush, and her novel, A River So Long, was published in 2012 (Luminis Books). Watson teaches fiction in the MFA program at McNeese State University, and collects seaglass in her spare time.