After hours traipsing through churches bogged down with cherubs and crosses and enough gold to filigree the planet, after hordes of us line up to clear the pathetic TSA amateur style provided by the cruise ship, in the elevator, the glass one overlooking the Mediterranean, I spot him.

“Professor Robert H. Raskin,” I shout.  He’s at the back, pinned against the glass.  To think I’d barely made it on before the doors closed.  I’d know him anywhere.  That bald head, that mole like a third eye lurking in the middle of his forehead.  Next to him, his wife.  I met her once, back when I was a freshman and he taught literature.

“It’s been thirty years!  I called you Bobby then.  We’d done it in your van that day, the day your wife showed up at school.  That was a few weeks before the abortion. We were so literary.  We compared my pregnancy to the girl’s in ‘Hills Like White Elephants.’  It was much easier than thinking about a real child, you being married and all.”

The elevator is silent. I imagine the others are thinking the view isn’t worth a ride up with a lunatic.  But I’m not crazy, it’s just that at 48 my estrogen supply is dwindling, and testosterone, more of it now, is coursing through my body, like some kind of truth and freedom serum. 

“Oh, here we are, stopping. Is this your deck, Robert?   Making your way through the madding crowd are you?”

As he slouches out, an old man with his head down, his wife looks at me, her gaze direct, but disinterested, as if I’m one more relic on view, after a day filled with more of the past than she cares to absorb.

Linda Lowe

Linda Lowe received her M.F.A. in poetry from the University of California, Irvine. A chapbook of her poems, “Karmic Negotiations” was published by Sarasota Theatre Press. Online, her stories have appeared in The Pedestal Magazine, The Linnet’s Wings, Right Hand Pointing and others.

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