by Gregory T. Janetka
Damn television sets. Three blaring away and the sun not yet up. Noxious distractions—news that’s not news, fearmongering, adverts for pills for conditions they don’t treat here. Suppose they treat the side effects though. We’re all side effects now. A soda machine? Fake plants? This is what passes for a place of healing? Don’t treat me when it’s my time, chuck me on the ice floe.
Huh? The door. Two more souls join the parade. Which is sick and which will wait? Wait. That’s all we do our entire lives and it never comes, whatever it is.
Good god she’s beautiful. Could pass for Evelyn—if she had lived. To wake beside that messed brown hair, dark downcast eyes barely open. God, let her be the one who’s waiting. Let me sit with her, if only for a bit. She’s no fool—impeccable posture, commanding, ruinous. Has a solid job, something reliable but dripping with passion and creativity—like designing layouts for fashion magazines. That’s it. Too intellectual to be a model herself but could have easily been. At least it lets her travel and live where she pleases. Thank god for the Internet, huh, Evelyn? Sure, Minnesota will always be home and fill her heart but work takes her around the globe, to the places the rich gather to admire one another. It’s because of that that we’ll meet in an overplayed situation—a hotel bar. I’m there for a weekend seminar and hating every minute but at least the firm is paying for the booze this time. She’s taking a break, an escape from the droning lack of substance. We click but exchange nothing beyond words and laughter—no bodily fluids, not even names. But the next day she’s waiting for a cab and a man tries to steal her purse and stabs her with a screwdriver and I’m there and give chase and recover the stolen goods. We talk more and when we’re in the same city I wake up beside that messed brown hair and dark eyes. After months and months it’s too much—propose or end it. She proposes, I accept. We settle down in a Midwestern city that neither of us have ever been to before. We don’t discuss children but when one comes along we’re overjoyed and welcome her with open arms.
“Miss Delacroix? We’re ready for you.”
“Allez, ils sont prets pour nous. Thank you nurse, we’ll be right there.”
French? Evelyn can’t be French. She’s from Minneapolis.
There she goes, if she was ever here.
“Mr. Conway? Mr. Conway, could you come this way please? There’s…there’s been some further complications with your father.”
“I’m sorry, what? Complications? Oh. Sure. Okay.”
French. How could she be French?
G. Tarsiscis Janetka is a writer from Chicago who drinks a great amount of green tea. His work has been featured in XRAY, Heartwood, The Phoenix, and other publications. More of his writings can be found at gregorytjanetka.com. He is currently seeking representation for his first novel.