in transit

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Photo credits: Tien | Incheon, South Korea (2020)

“Fabian, you have to accept the fact. This marriage is not going to work.”

His wife was beside him in the cafe, quiet all the while when he suddenly heard her say that.

If Fabian was surprised, he did not show it.

It was probably fatigue. After long hours of travelling, he was finally reunited with his wife in Kazakhstan. That had been a better part of one whole day, even with the time difference in mind. And now, they were on their way back to America, back home to that city where their romance first started. That was another half day gone.

Travelling was not the problem; the problem was Fabian did not sleep well whenever he travelled. He was lucky if he even got two hours of sleep. He must be hearing things.

He had to be.

Because it was a last-minute decision for him to travel to Kazakhstan, he could only do a transfer flight and he had six hours of layover in South Korea. It was too long for him, as well as his active mind, to rest but it was too short to take one of the free transit tours which Incheon Airport had to offer to revisit the city.

So instead, he chose to sit quietly and people-watched. He had ordered a dark chocolate cheesecake and a hazelnut latte - both her favourite - but they remained untouched.
And she suddenly dropped that bombshell on him.

Fabian did not look at her.

“Please.”

Again, her voice. He could not deny it anymore. He let a few moments passed before he cleared his throat and started speaking.

“Angela, did you remember our first honeymoon? It’s right here, in South Korea. Isn’t it ironic? We were so happy back then. But the airport has certainly changed a lot, hasn’t it? Remember this dark chocolate cheesecake and the hazelnut latte? They are from that same cafe you loved. Angela. Angel-in-us. Angel-in-us. Angela. The cafe that sounds almost like your name if we say it fast enough.”

Pausing in his soliloquy, he finally used the plastic fork to cut a small piece from the tip of the cheesecake that his wife loved so much and put it in his mouth. Most cheesecakes were sweet and creamy so he was pleasantly surprised by the slight savoury and toasted taste of the cheese. The bittersweet taste of the dark chocolate also complemented the cheese well.

It was easier to understand why his wife was so fond of it after he had tasted it himself.
“Since we’re here, shall we take our second honeymoon? And you have always wanted to visit Japan and her famous torii gates, as well as China and the Great Wall, don’t you?” he turned to look at Angela.

She still had that kind and understanding look on her face. Just the way he remembered.
“Let me go, Fabian.”

His vision started to mist and he blinked a few times as he licked his lips. There was still a slight aftertaste of the cheesecake. Instead of replying, he reached for the hazelnut latte and took a sip. The sharp nutty fragrance was not lost on him. Now he really understood why all these years, Angela had a special fondness of the dark chocolate cheesecake and hazelnut latte from Angel-in-us.

“We are already in transit, Angela. Just humour me and I’ll try my best to let you go,” Fabian said.

Then he turned to look at Angela’s ash urn again.

“I promise.”


Originally written for Weeds & Wildflowers on Medium.

I never had any intention of writing this flash fiction, especially the ending. This is originally a photo with the caption I came up with

even the most uncomfortable wait becomes bearable with simply joys

It sparked an interest in a fellow Medium writer, Dennett, and through her series of questions, this story was born. I must say, this is the most organic piece of writing I have ever come up with, starting from just some idle conversation into a snippet of life. Even the ending was surprising for me by the time I finished it, and the entire writing process took me about two hours, editing included.

It has certainly been a long time since I have done such a piece of creative writing.

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