Flash Fiction – Looking Back

A sunny day in Seattle is rare to say the least.  I look out the window of the office building toward the Space Needle piercing the blue sky and wonder if there is anyone inside it looking back at me.  I picture a woman my age holding her husband’s hand and enjoying the view.  Or maybe she is alone and questioning what the future has in store for her.  I wonder if she is picturing me staring back at her.

My lawyer says “Monica, do you agree to the terms?”  I look away from the Needle, across the room at my husband.  He taps his fingers on the table and sighs, looking around the room to avoid eye contact with me.  I remember a time when it seemed he couldn’t keep his eyes off me.

It was my nineteenth birthday.  Evan surprised me after my British Lit class with a bouquet of white lilies, my favorite flowers.  We walked hand in hand across campus to where his truck was parked and headed off to a ‘surprise’ location.  My head was spinning with excitement; I had never been in a relationship like this before.

Driving down the road, he serenaded me with songs from our favorite bands: Chicago, CCR, Doobie Brothers.  Evan said it was part of his present to me since he was such a great singer.  He was actually an awful singer, but I didn’t care.  I would have let him sing to me all night if he really wanted to.

Half an hour and ten songs later we pulled off the road onto a ledge overlooking Puget Sound.  We got out of the truck and Evan laid a blanket out on the damp ground.  “This will be the perfect spot to watch the sunset,” he said while laying out the picnic dinner he had packed – chicken salad sandwiches, barbecue chips, ice-cold Pepsi, and two chocolate cupcakes for dessert.  I watched a ferryboat gliding over the water before sitting down next to Evan.  “Babe, this is so beautiful.  I am loving my birthday so far!”  He brushed a piece of hair out of my eyes and then said something to me that I had never heard from anyone other than my parents.  “I love you, Monica.”

My lawyer places a pen on the table in front of me.  “Sign the papers if you agree to the terms.”  I pick up the pen and press it to the divorce papers.  With a moment of hesitation I glimpse at Evan again.  I want to see that adoration in his eyes that I saw six years ago on my birthday.  I hope to feel that spark of romance like we felt throughout college and our first year of marriage.  But it is gone.  Evan has left me and he doesn’t want to look back.  I force my eyes back down and sign my name, hoping that I will stop wanting to look back.


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