Wrinkled Continent

He missed the old days, before security tightened up, when you could meet a flight at the gate, watch the passengers emerge from the jetway.

It just isn’t the same down here, he thought, looking at the luggage spewing out of the chute onto the conveyor belt below.

He watched the travelers pouring down the escalator. His eyes searched out her face, but his body called out to her first—a tightening in his fingertips, a rush of electric current in his cells.

Her dark hair swung, an unruly curtain hiding her profile. He knew her by the way she clutched her phone, the way her fingers on the cross-body strap of her bag betrayed tension.

She looked out over the clusters of people around the carousel; her gaze scanned without settling on him.

Could he be wrong? Was that not her?

She stepped off the escalator, combing back her thick hair and shifting her bag from hip to back. She saw him.

He wasn’t aware of going to her, only of the relief of having her in his arms. He wrapped her in everything he’d wanted for the moment. They swayed, clinging silently to each other while the crowd flowed around them.

She’d always described herself as a burrower, and he smiled against her hair as she tucked her face into the collar of his shirt.

When he couldn’t stand it any more, he drew back. He framed her face in his hands and studied her. Half a heartbeat to understand her face, the other half to align it with memory. Heartbeats slowed, a bass line thrumming between them.

They were close enough to draw breath from one another, twined and entranced, but he hesitated.

Her eyes, green- and brown-flecked kaleidoscopes, mirrored the fierce joy racing through him, but he hesitated.

Sometimes I wish I could just wrinkle up the continent to be with you.

“I’m getting on a plane,” she’d said. “You’ll be there, won’t you?”

The inexplicable cord that bound them snapped tight and drew him to where they now stood, close enough for him to count the pale freckles under her eyes.

No more hesitation.

He pressed his lips to the corner of her smile, caught the peony scent of her perfume when her wrist brushed his cheek. Her fingernails traced the hairline behind his ear and she sighed into him.

Even as one kiss ended another began, neither one willing to relinquish the other’s long-desired mouth until the noise of the terminal began to seep through.

He pulled away, leaving one last chaste kiss on her cheek. She looked up, met the eye of a passing commuter and blushed furiously.

“Hi,” she said.

“Hi,” he replied.


Write On Edge: Red-Writing-HoodYou have 450 words to write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece about the forbidden or the taboo. 

This one is a rewrite of an old favorite, cut down from the original and retouched. You may interpret what is forbidden and why as you like.

I’m also linking this up with Trifecta‘s open writing challenge for July.

47 thoughts on “Wrinkled Continent

  1. Without the details of their mouths and motions, this doesn’t seem so taboo, does it?

    I like how you tapped into the anticipation. well written, as always.

  2. I already told you my favorite part, but I love this. And I love that you left it up to us to decide what is forbidden about their meeting.

      1. Rescinding your choice to let our imaginations figure out the taboo? I don’t know if THAT’S any fun? Isn’t the mystery part of that delicious anticipation?

  3. well, there is always the disapproval of PDA…but in this day and age how taboo can THAT be…unless you are stripping down to nothing and getting it on in the terminal 😉

    I love the line about the electric current he felt, even before he was sure it was her. That primal connection is so sexy.

  4. “Her eyes, green- and brown-flecked kaleidoscopes, mirrored the fierce joy racing through him, but he hesitated.” I absolutely loved this, very poetic. Good work!

  5. I love the triggers he responds to, peony perfume, the color of her eyes, her freckles. All ingrained in memory and rushing to validation.

  6. even kissing in public is forbidden sometimes, what if they are not “together” but rather “Lovers” ..then this is even better.

    The ending Hi’s…my breath just stopped. I loved this.

  7. Oh, that’s great. I will admit, I didn’t see anything forbidden before reading the end note; I was imagining maybe internet lovers meeting for the first time. And it’s so true, it’s not the same at the baggage claim.

  8. Yes! This kind of romantic couple is in just the place I like to find them. “Heartbeats slowed, a bass line thrumming between them.” That was my favorite line. Nobody needed kicking today (whew), and I thought they needed much more kissing. (Though I loved the embarrassment as they realized where they were.)

    1. I like that line, too. Really, this piece has been so pared down from the first draft over a year ago, that I like nearly every line.

      And I’m really glad no one requires a kick in the junk 😉

  9. So poetic as always. Somehow my favorite bit is about the burrowing, maybe because I’m a burrower the whole thing just rang more true.

  10. I’m glad I waited to read this. I’m a few days away from meeting my husband at an airport, after not seeing him for six weeks. You’ve given me some cue cards here.

    In all seriousness, this is really beautiful writing. I love a piece that doesn’t move from setting, but moves the reader along anyway. Great job with the prompt.

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