She wakes to the sound of beating wings and a bitter wind formed by darkness. She is late, still tied to a dream about missing him at a bus station, then at a train station and then at an airport.
Solid-rock is how she wants him. This is not about sex. It’s not about beauty or the late-night conversations they used to have long ago. No. It’s about familiarity, about putting her cheek to his belly and feeling the tight warm skin of his thin body.
She tells him her dream, her lateness, missing him in all of her locations. When she dreams again, she retells it and he listens in silence.
He is with her, having the coffee she brews every morning. Yet, she fears he is gone.
“This is mooost irrrregular,” he says with their old physician’s funny accent to make her laugh.
“What a waste,” he says pointing at the kennel outside the window.
She knows. Their dog used the kennel for a week, then abandoned it. The floor and walls gather dust.
“It’s the breed. You know they don’t like confinement,” he says.
She opens the door and throws a doggie snack smelling like bones into the wooden kennel. It lands on the abandoned rug doll the dog once liked to chew. The dog slides in, head down, picks up the snack and walks back to the lawn.
She and her husband stand close, facing the cold wind. She feels his chest under his flapping frayed shirt and leans into him. Rain falls. Their clutched arms are home.
Avital Gad-Cykman’s book, the flash collection Life In, Life Out was published by Matter Press in 2014. Her stories have been published in The Literary Review, CALYX Journal, Glimmer Train, McSweeney’s, Prism International, Michigan Quarterly Review and elsewhere. They have also been featured in anthologies such as W.W. Norton’s International Flash Anthology, Sex for America, Politically Inspired Fiction, Stumbling and Raging, Politically Inspired Fiction Anthology, The Flash, and The Best of Gigantic. She is the winner of Margaret Atwood Society Magazine Prize, placed first in The Hawthorne Citation Short Story Contest, and was a finalist for Iowa Fiction Award for story collections. She lives in Brazil.