The Pain of Things

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Today's Sunday Sample is from The Pain of Things.

After a long, hot shower I propped myself against the headboard, watching the international news. By then, enough time had passed for me to shut out the pictures of that miserable little house in Laventille and Myers’s lifeless body. At times, when it was impossible to get the day’s events out of my head, I studied financial reports, researched business trends, or meditated until I was back to being myself. 

Each time I did an extraction, I talked to Corinne only after decompressing and compartmentalizing my thoughts. As best I could, I kept what I did on these assignments separate from her. 

Corinne was like a refreshing sea breeze brushing my skin after I came away disgusted from the situations I encountered in the field. Her insistence on knowing how I was doing mentally and physically, whenever we were apart, plus her lively conversation sprinkled with soft laughter, reminded me of all that was good about having a special woman in my life.

I called twice before she answered. “You’ve surfaced, huh?”

“Hey, sweets, how are you?” I lowered the sound on the television and dropped the remote on the bed. 

“You sure you’re talking to the right woman? There’s nothing sweet about me.”

“Let me be the judge of that.” I thought about what I wanted to say next and before I convinced myself not to say the words, I blurted, “I’ve missed you like crazy, Corinne.”

“Really?” The throaty chuckle that hit my ear made me smile, until she said, “If you missed me, you’d be here with me getting some of this mmm-mmm goodness.”

“You’re wrong for teasing me like that.” Frowning, I asked, “Speaking of which, where are you now?”

She chuckled again, but I wasn’t sure she was actually amused. “Where did you promise to meet me?”

“Woman, stop being difficult and tell me if you’re still where I think you are. I can call my mother or my brother and find out if you’re where I left you, so I don’t even know why we’re having this conversation.”

“I don’t know either.” A pause dropped between us before she continued. “To tell the truth, I also don’t know why I’m still in Antigua waiting for you like some groupie.”

She didn’t mean that as a compliment, but I laughed. “I think I should be offended, but I also believe you’ve just paid me a backhanded compliment.”

“Take it whatever way you like.”

“Despite your sauciness, I still look forward to seeing you tomorrow.”

Her response was quick and carried a slight sting. “I’ll look for you with one eye.”

“You better be at that airport waiting for me tomorrow night.” I heaved a dramatic sigh for effect. “D’you know how many flights I’ve had to scroll through to make it from here to there in one day?”

Corinne went silent, and when I wondered if the call had dropped, she asked, “Mind telling me where here is? You didn’t tell me where you were going when you left.”

“Trinidad and Tobago.”


“What does that mean? I don’t think you understand how much I want to be with you. ”

“No, love, but you can tell me if you happen to turn up.”

She’d stuck me with another barb, but I didn’t remark on it. Since we started seeing each other more regularly in the last year, I had instances where I turned up a day later than we were supposed to meet. Rarely, it happened that I had back-to-back jobs and was forced to disappoint her. This time, no matter what happened, I’d return to Antigua like I promised.

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