He was nervous. I mean he has put so much heart and thought into actually meeting her, that the fact that it was finally happening was literally off-putting. A whirlwind of emotion and glee. His knees were wobbly and his heart was a-thumpin’. Would she even take him seriously he wondered? How could she, I mean really. He’s come from grime and from wildness and unrefinement. The streets. Just a scrapper, after the bone. And she’s so cultured, and savvy and accomplished.
Made in heaven.
He checked his watch again, while he puffed on his cigarette. Damn all this nonsmoking nowadays. How can a person be expected to get to the airport, go through ALL THAT degradation, just to get on a plane, be in the god-damned sky for eight hours like a sardine, disembark with the sheep, get out through the exit, go through all that messy rigomoro, without a damned cigarette? No wonder there are mass murders and rampage! He needed to get a hold of himself, he thought, she’d be arriving soon. He contemplated what it’d be like for real.
I mean all the time they’ve “known” each other, he certainly wasn’t anything but himself. At least he tried to be. Tried to be generous and warm, display his heart on his sleeve. To be humble and gracious. Was it just not in his bloodline to even show up on her radar? Was his destiny predetermined, a story formerly written?
Her aura, her disposition. Just so sophisticated, so elegant. Aaargh, he didn’t want to even think about it! He flipped his cigarette and lit another. Aaahhh, getting better now. He watched the cars pulling up, happy hugs, all that luggage. People returning to home and to loved ones. What was he even doing here anyway? Why would a guy like him think this could mean anything significant? Just another whim, another impulse. He knew that ultimately she’d just stick him and prod him.
Want him to be different than he was.
That’s what they all did. Eventually. After their entertainment by him, after his lappy-dog-cute-puppy-play show. Is it the mongrel in him that’ll never rate?
He saw the limousine pull up. He still held the sign that the baggage clerk had given him, the one with her name on it. When the chauffer walked around curbside, he opened the door and a goddess stepped out. She stood straight up and tall, like he knew that she would, eyes scanning the sidewalk, perusing this side show. All of humanity in a nutshell, right here for her. She acknowledged someone, a group walking towards her.
Not her, he thought.
Sunken and tired he felt a finger poking him on the shoulder. He turned to a smile, that smile from his daydreams. Filled with irony and mischief and color and fun. A smile you traveled into. His senses got tangled.
His response just inaudible.
“Uhh hello?” he said.
She put her hand on his shoulder, still smiling, and he couldn’t help but just throw his arms around her and squeeze Just an innate response really, and he didn’t feel a mince of embarrassment. How could he? When she smelled and she felt of the heavens and the stars, of the mountains and the sea, of the sun and the rain, of the depths of the valleys and that never-ending sky.
Ohhhh, for the azure of that sky….
She didn’t pull away. But when she did, she just looked at him for a long minute, taking him in. And just laughed. Like a schoolgirl.
For this he knew he’d be fine.
Illustration by Sam Parr
Pete Armetta is an emerging writer of Flash Fiction, Short Stories and Poetry. With a unique writing style that’s accessible and broad, Pete is the consummate Outsider and is self-taught. He doesn’t fit in any specific category, and certainly doesn’t want to. He believes much can interfere with the genuine and authentic voice we all have inside, where we yearn to express ourselves as honestly and directly as possible. Pete writes for readers, as opposed to the writing community, and gets the greatest pleasure when told that his writing was enjoyed, particularly by someone who doesn’t read much, which is many nowadays.
Currently applying for Fellowships and residencies for 2012, Pete is based in Charlottesville, VA and now writing full-time. He gave up the “corporate slog” job and lifestyle to dedicate to pursuing his passion.