Chapter 80 of The Empty City

By Andrew Looney

In the morning, Jim felt OK. It was wonderful for him to wake and find someone warm and caring beside him, a sensation that he hadn't experienced in quite some time. It was bittersweet, since he knew it wouldn't happen again with this person; but even so, what they had shared had been magical indeed.

He lay awake for a long time without moving, Lisa's arm around him and her head resting on his chest. Finally, Lisa stirred, and they got up.

She had nothing in her refrigerator but some milk and margarine, and nothing in her pantry except some nearly stale bread, but their breakfast was still fine. They made toast in her oven, and washed it down with the milk.

After breakfast, they sat by the window, holding hands, watching the morning. They didn't talk. There was really nothing to say. It was like the last day of the world. They knew the world would end soon, and that they could do nothing to prevent it, and so they just sat, enjoying their remaining time together as much as they could.

At 9:30 that morning some movers arrived, and they took away all of Lisa's remaining boxes and furniture. She was left only with a small suitcase and a large purse.

At 11:15, she and Jim left the apartment. Lisa surrendered her key to the manager at the desk, and then she and Jim walked along Integer Avenue to the subway station. There, they parted.

She was to take a northbound train, which went out of the city and on to the Airport. He needed a southbound train. They stood silently on the platform, waiting to see whose train would arrive first. Inside, they each cried, but outside, they hid their emotions.

Then Lisa's train screeched into the station, and their goodbyes had to be brief. They kissed, and she got onto the train. "Goodbye!" she said.

"You have my address," said Jim, "So write to me, OK?"

"OK!" she said. Then the doors started to close, and they both called "Goodbye" again as the doors shut.

And Jim was left alone on the platform. He now felt no need to hide his emotions, and tears rolled down his face. He almost didn't notice when his train finally came.

Copyright © 1991 by Andrew Looney.

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