Waiting for her to disembark so I can go back to

The airport bar, the one with an Irish theme-

Idiotic, childish

A big painful wait and off she trammels

Smelling of cabin-bound perfume, peppermints and

Of one expensive inflight drink

Adam is with her. I knew he would be, he was off

Playing with his mundane band

She said she’d catch up with them

Adam is a mediocre player and a nice, quiet bloke

I tell them that I’m going back to the bar but I haul her bags

Up to the bar for her, by way of an invitation

I ask Adam “stout?” with a nod and I buy us all a drink

She’s in tight black jeans and already I think how sullenly

Some of us own each other

Fifteen minutes later I will think the same thing

As she tearfully searches for me throughout the airport

I order a gin & tonic with my pint of beer

In what is perhaps some attempt at a flourishing gesture

I look at them and then I bang that perfume down the hatch

As if revealing to them some pet locust I have trained

Into performing simple but impressive tricks

Adam’s presence is cool – not hip – just simply, literally cool

Like mist drifting out of a split in an overpowered garden hose

We are mild and civil as for some reason

We are supposed to know one another

I don’t know what she wants to do next

But that is always the case

She’s operating under some attempt at scrambled telepathy

There is a blur of mental static over the course of the drink

And she says that she’ll stay tonight with Adam

I suppose that my eyes bulge and I look at her and at him

His presence is never an expressive one, not even now

His bottom lip always hangs open a little bit

I look at her and her incessant questing for purpose

“Ah, fuck. Ah, fuck’s sake!” and I spacewalk out of the silly

Irish bar, immediately trying to mentally locate another bar

I continue to spacewalk throughout the airport

The airport neon feels like anaesthetized gums at the dentist

She sees me in some corridor, locks on and scurries up behind me

In tight black jeans, her head a bundle of crying rasps

But nobody looks twice at someone crying in an airport

Then she’s all apologies and aggressive surrender and more rasping

As her monkey knuckles tug at me and I feign at

Breaking free

Hulking in the neon light like the definition of a sulk


Two years later and I am at the back of the huddle

Of her wedding, listening to the muffled celebrant

The service sounds like somebody reading out a credit card statement

I’m sucking a piece of rum & raisin chocolate from a small block

Of chocolate I’m sharing with Steve the bearded singer and guitarist

We’re of like-mind about all this spruced shuffling show

The chocolate knocks the teeth out of the awkwardness

After the service I see Adam, also invited

And it’s “hey man!” and clean bright cheer all round


Will Swan


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