The Indie Ink Writing Challenge comes from a plaid panted lass, who gives me "silence in black and white". My challenge goes to Ixy.
I still get the paper, the dead tree, old fashioned, thump on the driveway at 530am newspaper. It isn't very ecologically correct, nor is it logical in any way, since all of the information available in it is easily, and more quickly, retrievable elsewhere. But I am my father's son, and a day just doesn't seem like it has begun until I have sipped coffee with ink stained fingertips.
I was reviewing the front page with SportsCenter on in the background when my wife moved past me into the kitchen. We didn't talk, but we didn't need to. She still had the glazed look of sleep, so I elected to wait until she had something to say.
The front page was still covering the echoes of Tuesday's plane crash- the kind of story that dominates the news when there's nothing else to talk about. A flight coming out of Iowa City simply dropped out of the sky, undergoing a catastrophic failure soon after takeoff that only 21 of 311 people survived.
Today's angle was apparently a woman with "local ties" who lost her life in the crash. I was hopping over the story idly as my wife began sleepily, "I had the weirdest dream last night. You were in a hotel somewhere, and I was sure you were..."
I saw the shape of her name before I was able to process it. Surely it couldn't be her, could it?
"...and Giada DeLaurentis was there, and I kept telling her..."
It was. The details matched. Her parents' names, her brother, the high school, everything. I felt my stomach lurch. She had tickets for San Francisco, and was about to marry a doctoral candidate in literature that she met backpacking in Chile.
"...but the colors were all wrong, but nobody would listen to me..."
My God, I thought, trying not to show emotion. I was over her, or, more properly, she was more than over me. We hadn't spoken since before Clinton was elected, so I couldn't properly say that I missed her. I missed who we were- the sad girl with long brown hair and the boy who was going to keep her safe.
"...and then there wasn't anyone working in the store, and no matter how loud..."
I loved her ferociously. I know now, with the wisdom of two decades, that it wasn't a relationship at all. She was an object of worship, and that's not a foundation for anything. But love her I did, and I felt her absence from the world.
"...and my Aunt Diana was there, and she had made pasta, which was weird..."
She was gone, ripped out of the sky in a panicked spasm of fire and failed engineering. I couldn't protect her then, and I couldn't protect her twenty years ago. You can't protect anybody, can you?
"...Are you listening to me?," my wife concluded, looking at me squarely.
"No, sorry," I said, closing the paper. "I was reading that story about the crash."
"Do you want some toast?," she said again.
"No, thank you," I said, folding the paper over once, and then again, as if I could disguise the news from myself.
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