"What are you doing standing on those suitcases, dear"?
She looked down from her two Montgomery Wards matching travel cases. Two stiff suitcases that forever reminded her of a game show announcer sweatily telling loser contestants what consolation prizes they would haul home with them today.
"I'm changing the light-bulb in the chandelier", she deadpanned.
"You're leaving me, aren't you", he stated, hesitating to ask, no chandelier within miles.
She disbelievingly shook her head. "Watch out for flying glass". She jumped, trying to squeeze extra bulging possessions, kind of like forcing a thirty-seven waist into a mannequins thirty-two svelte fruit-of-the-looms. And she jumped again. He watched, hands wringing, naturally thinking of perhaps assisting. He was going to suggest to his wife that sitting, legs protruding outward, would result in the center of gravity producing the most downward force needed to fasten the snaps. He bit his lower lip.
"Why are you leaving me? The advance from the publisher could arrive any day now. Perhaps a thousand dollars, my dear", his voice quivering, fading at dollars.
She stepped down, looked at the open suitcases, hands on hips.
"Maybe they'll show up at the front door with balloons and a big old check". Sarcasm was oozing from her eyeballs. "A thousand dollars whoop-dee-doo".
She sat on the cases. He daringly grasped her ankles to try his theory, but she swung at him wildly missing before any snaps could have clicked shut. He put on his hat and coat, tucked in his scarf, and softly closed the door behind him.
The advance came just four days later. It was raining when he left his rented room, walking the seven blocks to the post office. He tore open the envelope standing by his open post office box, water dripping off his hat onto the huge black and white tiles. Inside was a crisp folded white letter and a blue certified check. The check was for one hundred thousand dollars. He read the paragraph three times that complemented his 'splendid idea' of the little misfit sparrow with the corrective goggles and backup parachute.
The rain had dissipated into a silver mist as he sat in a warm diner before a deluxe egg platter and hot black coffee. 'Whoop-dee-doo', echoed with every bite.
Photo by Elene Usdin