The Vacant and the Bored
Veronica shouldn’t have brought her husband, hadn’t known Van was going to be in Indianapolis. The two colleagues sat opposite each other at the conference table and mostly watched each other. She wished she were dressed better. Her lips were chapped.
During a break they sat at a table by the coffee kiosk. Van had been behind her in line and paid for her latte. She dreaded telling him that her husband was there. He suggested dinner and she said no, but maybe the two could meet for a drink in the lobby, later.
Her husband was fine with room service. She didn’t eat much of her beef burgundy, said she didn’t want to be sleepy for her last meeting, and left him with the television on.
Downstairs, she and Van found an empty corner with a chair and a loveseat. A waiter in black and white kept gin and tonics in supply, and soon they were both tipsy, laughing. It was the first time she’d seen him not in rigid control. Once he leaned over and put his fingers across her throat, then pressed. She closed her eyes.
When the bar closed at one, they went to a stairwell and walked up a few floors, holding hands, and sat on a stair. They leaned together and finished talking.
Vallie Lynn Watson received her PhD from the Center for Writers and teaches creative writing at Southeast Missouri State University. Her writing has appeared in Staccato Fiction, Metazen, Women Writers, Menu, Moon Milk Review, and elsewhere.