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                            SO FOUL A SKY








Maria was at gate C12 in the Palm Beach International Airport. The area was packed, chairs were full and people milled in the aisles. A brutal afternoon sun beat against expansive windows, making the terminal uncomfortable. Fortunately, she arrived early, secured her ticket and scored a chair in a tolerable corner. A potted plant shaded her from the sun and the outstretched legs of a snoring old man provided a barrier between her and a group of annoying children playing tag.

She was leafing through one of the tabloid magazines, oblivious to the snoring man and screeching kids, but not really reading anything. Instead, she was consumed with thoughts of men, her men in particular—more precisely—the men of her past. To say she was having bad luck with her love life was an understatement. She was wondering if there were any decent ones out there.

One option would be to give it up and go full lesbian. She experimented with her friend, Kelly, and enjoyed it.

Kelly pressed to further the relationship, but Maria, being hung up on convention, declined. A woman was supposed to meet the man of her dreams and live happily ever after. While she was always so sure the perfect guy was just around the corner, it now dawned on her that she could be mistaken.

She thought about Romeo and Juliet, the greatest love story of all time. She recalled a line from scene one: Love is a smoke and is made with the fume of sighs.

Recent history convinced her that the brilliant line, did indeed, define the essence of love. No more than a puff of smoke, nothing to hold on to. Was it even worth pursuing?

A voice came over the loudspeaker announcing that flight 825 to Milwaukee was ready to board. It was her flight. It would carry her from Palm Beach International to Billy Mitchell field, then she would hop a puddle jumper to Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay.

While standing at the back of the boarding line, she checked the weather on her smart phone. It was eighty-four degrees in West Palm Beach. When she touched Green Bay, the data screen changed to thirty-four degrees and cloudy. She groaned and bent to get a sweater from her carryon. Before she could unzip the bag, a special report came on the television. She heard it, twisted her head and straightened up. The topic was of particular interest so she stepped out of line to watch.

“We have breaking news concerning the murder of a star NFL quarterback. Details are coming in as we speak.”

The reporter paused and held his finger to his ear.

“I was just instructed to take a commercial break. Information is pouring in and we’ll need more time to sort it out. I’m told it will be a two minute break. So, please, stay tuned.










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