by Kay Sexton

“So …” he folded his coat over his arm, picked up his case and began to walk towards the departure gates.

“So?” She felt like sticking out a foot to trip him up but he was already past, moving too fast, as he always had. “Is that it?”

“Janie,” he turned, sweet reason in a suit and tie. “I’ll be back in two days—we can talk then.” He was gone, neatly side-stepping the bags on the floor, neatly side-stepping her fears.

As he descended the spiral ramp past the conical water feature that was meant to calm passengers, she noticed he had dandruff on the collar of his chalk-stripe suit. Good, she thought.

With the detached observation that airports often bring, she watched other passengers descend. A small Chinese-looking woman with long airbrushed fingernails and an Armani suit seemed too perfect to be real. The flight attendant could probably fold her into a luggage locker and she’d still come out looking immaculate at the other end. Janie had never been like that—she had hair that stuck out and shoes that were scuffed or run over at the back. Would Rob have taken her worries more seriously if she had been better groomed?

Two teenage Australian backpackers chatted down the ramp, tie-dyed t-shirts flapping in synchrony with their mouths. In her gap year, she’d worked in a local creche. Rob had traveled to Switzerland to study canton politics in his. She wished she’d gone farther, done more.

Another businessman dropping into the depths of the airport—like Rob, but twenty years on. Silver hair, platinum Rolex, red congested features. He was a Type A personality waiting to drop dead. Janie had a sudden vindictive hope he’d do it on Rob’s flight. He turned, sketching a wave, and Janie turned too, wondering whom he’d left behind.

She saw the pneumatic cleavage and blonde highlights of a trophy wife—or maybe a mistress—who waved back, but allowed herself a disgusted grimace as soon as the man was out of sight. Right, thought Janie, that’s it. If it wasn’t an omen, it was at least a warning. She pulled out her mobile and rang the Marie Stopes clinic. “I want a termination,” she said clearly, causing heads to turn all across the departure lounge. “In the next two days, if possible. It’s …” she paused, wondering how to express her sudden loathing for her life. She looked out at the grey sky, punctuated by clumsy jet airplanes. “It’s convenient timing,” she said.

Kay Sexton has an overdeveloped work ethic and a fig tree in her garden. She finds it hard to reconcile the two. She is a Jerry Jazz Fiction Award winner, with a column at www.moondance.org  and another at www.facsimilation.com.  Her short-short story “Domestic Violence” was runner up in the Guardian fiction awarded by Dave Eggars, “Tats” earned an honourable mention in the Desdemona’s Erotic Fiction contest and “Acorns and Conkers” has been given the runner-up prize by Sarah Hall (Electric Michelangelo) who is judging the South Cumbria Short Story and Poetry Contest.  Her website www.charybdis.freeserve.co.uk gives details of her current and forthcoming publications.  The fig tree is also flourishing.