Newark (EWR)—Düsseldorf (DUS)
by Melissa Goode
I miss you as I aquaplane along our street and you fly so high above that I cannot see even a speck of you. For every night you are away, you left me a frozen meal, and each night, I will stand in front of the microwave watching my meal turn. I have forgotten how to make anything other than tea and toast. You will be in Düsseldorf for two weeks, and I do not know what will happen to me. I will play Glen Campbell, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” That will happen many times. I will not let him be the “Rhinestone Cowboy” or the “Wichita Lineman” but keep him traveling, moving, hitting Phoenix, Albuquerque, Oklahoma, and back again. This morning, you pushed my hip under the blankets. I rocked under your hand. You were showered, shaved, dressed, searching for things, but stopped for a minute to hold my hip. I didn’t say anything as you pushed me gently, testing if I was real. Now, I run around the streets of our suburb. I slide on the wet sidewalk. I stop. Bending down, I hold onto my knees and breathe. You said, Can’t you help me look? Are you protesting? You kissed my cheek, which just about cut me in half. I reached up to drag you back, but you were already gone. After you left, I rose from our bed, my body in your T-shirt, blue and smelling of you. The flight was at seven a.m., so you were banging about the apartment at four, looking for the laptop cable (floor, near the armchair), passport (nightstand, second drawer), plane ticket (kitchen counter, beside the radio). You are already gone.
This story turns out to be my elegy for Glen Campbell. He passed away after I had written this story. His music played on the classics radio station that my parents loved and he is my childhood. "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" has long been a favourite of mine. It might be his voice or the lyrics, but I can see the light and I can see the handwriting on the note left hanging on her door. That song tells a story. This little story of mine is inspired by his.
Melissa Goode’s work has recently appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, WhiskeyPaper, New World Writing, Split Lip Magazine, Atticus Review, Blue Fifth Review, (b)OINK, and Jellyfish Review, among others. One of her short stories has been made into a film by the production company, Jungle. She lives in Australia. You can find her here: melissagoode.com and at twitter.com/melgoodewriter.