Reluctant Departure
(for Y and S)

by Cheryl L. Daytec

for the last time I reconnoiter the hotel lobby
someone takes our picture in front of the ficus
now taller than it was one calendar ago
with recalcitrance, we draggle the weight
of three hundred forty-one days of my life…
fifty kilograms cramped in two black suitcases-
assorted books, clothes and overused shoes

two laptops, a camera, even a cheap trinket
her thin silver spoon we shared for months
digging through ice cream or a bowl of cereals
as we dissected the body of truths and lies
about Darfur, Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Bosnia
the unheard wails of the Roma and my people
always, the rhetoric of justice was gripping

oh, yes, she graciously bestowed on me
a brown teapot- a legacy from her mother
it now travels to where my fate takes me

suppressing tears, we sit across each other
in the almost empty airport coffee shop
absently, she stirs her hot chocolate
my camera seizes her struggle to smile
and then I go after a lingering hug and a kiss..
as I brace to be frisked for security check
I look beyond the long queue behind me

among strangers she stands in her blue shirt
brandishing her sorrow with a slow hand
I wave back… then abruptly, I turn away
as the corners of my mouth curve downward
a woman runs a detector through my body
does it descry the deep twinge in my chest?
I rush to the departure lounge where I weep

I weep even more when she calls my mobile
voice cracking, she says she did not divine pain
oh…the best words have been uttered last
when time and distance are now our enemies.