09/18/2021

Samuel M. Moss ~ Coming, Going

Were he to have the heart surgery noth­ing would change. The morn­ings could come and the evenings would come. The chil­dren would cry, still. He would live. In the gro­cery store park­ing lot he still sat. The berms snow banked. Grim faced women, squint­ing in the wind, trav­eled from their cars to the auto­mat­ic doors. And back. Pushing carts, goad­ing their own children.

His car had been warm but now it was cold. He con­sid­ered that he might turn on the car, the heater, but he didn’t. The phone he held was cold too. Coldest, weighty. Had it grown fur­ther heft in the waiting?

With the clock checked he found, yet again: the appoint­ment time approached—approaching—the gap to its com­ing grown lesser.

He imag­ined his wife at home, expect­ing him soon to return. Was she wor­ried? He knew her image: her fid­get­ing in the kitchen, hold­ing the phone to her face then plac­ing it down. Phone to face then down again. She was pac­ing, per­haps. Back and for­thing. Surely.

  ~

He recalled a time in the heat, at a beach. Not a large beach but a small one.

They dis­al­lowed inflat­able things, the signs stat­ed it.

He hadn’t had chil­dren then but had been entrust­ed with the care of another’s. Their ques­tions had been end­less. Then the tears as the inflat­able things had been returned to the car.

In the sound of the tears he had felt futile.

He found it was the same car he sat in now as then—the same sense too—though in the cold.

~

He gave a call. He lis­tened long. He made the effort.

—No, I’m in a gro­cery store park­ing lot.

He put the key in the igni­tion, didn’t turn it.

—I don’t know.

A woman walked by. An elder­ly woman. She stared into his car. Perhaps she thought he was a pedophile, rapist, mur­der­er. Surely one of these, per­haps all three.

—I’m wait­ing.

The phone got so loud so he hung it up.

Was it the right thing to do?

Was his heart meant to keep beating?

And were the morn­ings meant to keep coming?

The women to keep com­ing? And going?

~

Samuel M. Moss is from Cascadia. His work has been pub­lished in 3:AM Magazine, decomP, and Young Mag among oth­er venues. He is an asso­ciate edi­tor and web lead at 11:11 Press. Find more at per­fid­i­ouss­cript.com and on twit­ter @perfidiouscript