The elderly couple on the train to Portland have stopped speaking to each other. They’re both seated, pretending to read, one a newspaper, the other a paperback. They trade sighs. Pages crinkle. No one seems to be enjoying this. But no one is leaving, either, and there’s a bright shopping bag beneath the man, with a plush, wide-eyed elephant peeking out, and at the woman’s side lays a glossy travel guide to Bavaria. The life they’ve made is a finger swelled tight around a ring, pressing those young promises in place until they’re bone.
Ross McMeekin’s stories have appeared in places like Virginia Quarterly Review, Maudlin House, Lost Balloon, and Redivider. His debut novel, THE HUMMINGBIRDS (Skyhorse), came out in 2018. He edits the literary journal Spartan.