Monthly Business Trip

By Ryan Garcia

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The cool marine layer had crept over the city through the night, seeping its way into cracked windows, tugging at the edges of blankets. Highway headlights dimmed a little, and the comfort of shorts and shirts soon turned into jeans and jackets, maybe a scarf. Scarves, Henry thought, what a joke. Henry made his way through the lobby towards the elevator doors, suitcase in one hand, rolled blueprints in the other. His visits to Los Angeles felt tropical; a nice getaway from the sleek and sting of a New York winter. He sought them. He sought any opportunity to venture west.

The elevator doors slid open. He began to read through the small calendar he kept in his pocket as he made his way up to the 28th floor. Carefully, he drew lines across the day’s agenda list, feeling the smooth wave of relaxation beginning to blanket his shoulders in the comfort of a productive day. Hotel hallways were always the loneliest part of Henry’s day, the burning seconds between his business on the outside and a warm room inside. Gently sliding his keycard up and down the lock, he exhaled. The bathroom door was ajar, cracking just enough light in the room to make the bed look as though it was glowing. Henry smiled.

He loosened his tie delicately; a Christmas gift from his wife last year – all black, pencil shape, his favorite. He placed it over the wonderfully tacky chair that stood just next to the bed, and began to undress to nothing. Henry threw the covers from the bed, scooted towards the middle, and stared at the ceiling. It was these last moments he had when he missed New York the most; the few moments lying between the day’s anticipation of the night and the overwhelming sentiment of love. They were moments he believed to be the darkest. Waiting.

The bathroom door finally opened, and Henry began to bask in the evening’s promise. Now completely consumed by his adoration and passion for something he planned his whole month around. She walked to the bed and placed herself next to him so gently that it felt to Henry that she was set there delicately by God.

I’ve missed you, she said.

I’m here.

The city is colder when you’re gone.

She grabbed him tenderly, and felt his body tremble. The marine layer began to thicken, passing by their window with the stealth and discreetness of a lover. Henry felt his body getting colder, allowing himself to be enveloped by the cool ocean air that he so seldom felt back east.

Ryan Garcia