Duet, March 1987

The woman rides the escalator up from the Red Line. Her plastic rain coat matches her red glasses. It billows around her, filling with a damp gust of subway air. She wraps the coat around her chest, catching her silhouette reflected in the glass of a Calvin Klein advertisement. She likes the way that the red coat is dramatic, the length hitting mid-calf, the shoulders padded. She almost looks thin within its folds.

The subway dumps her into the canyonlands of suburban Maryland. Bland high-rise condos sprout up everywhere, their horizontal lines of windows blinking against the damp night. Reflected light stains the sky maroon to gray. It is getting late for a Monday night. She walks across the puddled stones, her feet splashing reflected neon and traffic lights. She puts up her hood, and waits to cross the street. His building is two blocks, that way.

The man walks out of Alice’s in Old Town. There isn’t a line at Hard Times. He thinks about walking across the street; chili makes sense on a night like this. But he doesn’t. His car is back at the office, and he was expected home hours ago. Crazy wife number two waits in a two bedroom apartment in Fairfax County. Their development is called Meadow Woods. He usually jokes that it has neither one, but his wife never gets it. The rain picks up as he walks down King Street toward his office.

At least there’s no traffic at this hour. He drives down Route 1, past the lights of the Dixie Pig. Past the Bombay Donut Shop. The Donut Hole of Calcutta, he thinks, and smiles. His wife wouldn’t get that either. The car lights bleed into pillars on the highway. He shouldn’t have stayed for one more drink. And the one after that. It would be simpler to just continue driving, let the road lead him down into the darkness of Virginia. He thinks about doing that as he turns into Meadow Woods.

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7 Responses to Duet, March 1987

  1. indigobunting says:

    I’m smiling. And oh, the red glasses.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Helen says:

    There is so much more I want to know about these people. (And I joined the man in smiling at the Donut Hole of Calcutta.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I want to know more but something says to me that this is best the way it is.

    I’ve gotten things that wives have not and I always wondered why the marriage happened in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dona says:

    This was amazing. I wish I could write like you do. I also want more. I am familiar with so many of those locations, although Alice’s is not ringing a bell.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mali says:

    This was so vivid, I could see it all unfold. Brilliant. I loved the red coat and her reaction to seeing it reflected.

    Oh, and I smiled at the Donut Hole of Calcutta, and then my stupid pedantic geography brain started arguing, and I had to speak to it sternly, before I could read on.

    Liked by 1 person

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