Short Short Story
“Why do you think kids like holding big plush toys in their hand carrying them everywhere?”
She was pointing to the two girls at the gate, ready to board the same plane as them. The girls were dressed the same, although perhaps a few years different in age, the taller one was holding a white polar bear while the shorter one was holding a brown bear. I guess one could tell which one was older but she was done with assumptions, as one can be, even with the most obvious ones.
Her sister had grown to be taller than her at the age of 17. And her father more prone to the opposite of vulnerability. She wondered why kids needed things to hold on to. Like plush toys and mothers.
The older girl was trying out all possible combinations to hold a bear against her body as the staff took their time to welcome passengers inside. She still didn’t like airports all that much, even with him next to her this time, not one but with two suitcases this time. Not one but two passengers heading to this worn place of a country, where she had called home even when she didn’t feel like it. Even from a distance. Mostly from a distance. Mostly when she didn’t feel like it.
This worn country of a place, what a story, one he had to listen whenever she spoke to him, since as long as he was listening to her. She wasn’t sure when exactly that was.
She had always imagined this journey to sound like a finally. She had always thought they were too late to do this yet always, always early.
Ahead of its time. She loved those words. She first had heard them from him. Since as long as she couldn’t stop listening to him chanting. Since as long as she loved him. She wasn’t sure when exactly that was either. Since then, all was ahead of its time. That’s how she knew she was one step closer to the truth. (her truth, some truth).
This plane was soon to board perhaps the biggest love story of all time. Not because there hasn’t been a greater love before them, surely there must have, but because they loved greatly. Because they were great lovers.
The idea of airports was slightly more exciting than before, yet everything else, the dirt, the nonsmoking, the wait, the over expensive coffee were still incurable. But fresh, still and new, and old like everything they got to do together for the first time. And they didn’t know.
At least now airports can also hear their song, she thought. She could only hear it as a muffled noise now.
“It’s like me but in 2021.”
She meant the girls. That year was when she held on to him the most, like the plush toy in all combinations around a body. She too, had tried all possible combinations to get a grip on him. She tried to put him on this plane before. She tried to place him in her train of thoughts. She had tried all possible combinations of words to tell their century-long-ahead-of-its-time story, and then she became a poet.
Though not anymore, no more with the grips and the chase. She had also let go of her mother. The words were hers. And they didn’t know what year it was now. They had stopped counting after the end. Together and apart they have grieved, before and after the times. It didn’t matter who they were and where they came from. These things didn’t matter anymore. What mattered was often these singular moments that had a story within themselves and continued to make up the larger story when patched up together. These singular interactions would often turn out to be a brief replica of how the course of that same year followed, how they went up and down and around and around hate and love and sex and pain and care and careful,
so they don’t forget.
They would never. Just an assumption. What mattered now was silence. And to board the plane.