Flash Fiction: “It takes a long time to become young again.”

She finishes the phone call and lights a cigarette. He waits for the coffee to cool, pulls the sheer curtains aside to view St. Mark’s square beyond the canal. They’ve been in Venice for three days. They’ll go out later, get something to eat, drink wine, bring up some day that they both thought they’d forgotten. She’ll smoke more and he’ll pretend not to mind.

“So, how is he?” he asks.

She exhales loudly. “Fine…I guess.”

“Do you want to leave?”

She drags on the cigarette again, chews her thumb nail. They had waited for, talked about, planned for months this trip. This was the trip to make everything right, to get the cells enlivened, to save what was left of their life together.

He stirs his coffee and sits down in the brown leather chair. It squeaks subtly and she looks at him, not for the first time, nor the last, in his rumpled gray suit. He should get a new one while he’s here. And shoes. He crosses his legs and sips the coffee.

It takes a long time to become young again – a quote from Picasso she’s read somewhere. Where? She can’t remember now. She pushed the spent cigarette into the lid of her soda can where it makes a small “shush” sound as it extinguishes. She looks out the window.

“I’m not leaving,” she says.

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