map You’re Here

by Ana Prundaru

Published in Issue No. 242 ~ July, 2017

You’re on a middle seat, thirty thousand feet up in the sky. It’s too late to go back, obviously, but that’s all you can think of. Being back on campus, in your room that you share with a girl on a varsity scholarship, whose eyes and lips say different things. You’ve tried to get an aisle seat, but it was a last-minute booking, so there were none left. Every part of your body is tensing up. You try to massage your shoulders and poke your seat neighbor awake with your elbow. You’re sweating and you can’t afford it, because you only brought one outfit. The tips of your fingers are tingly and you shake them slightly. People seem to pick up on your unease and your stomach makes you feel like you’re on a very fast Ferris wheel. You try to look ahead, to the screen. There is a movie about people blowing things up, which you think is a poor choice considering the state of our world. You get a mild neck spasm and tilt your head left and right. There are still fifty minutes left in the flight. Someone is laughing and you wonder if your bra is showing through the white blouse. It can’t be. You’re wearing a blazer over it. Maybe the beige trousers make you look large. You pick up your purse from under your seat to go through the papers detailing your onsite interview. The papers are crumpled and stick to your sweaty palms. You hear someone sighing. The more you stare at the interview schedule, the less you want to go. A flight attendant brings you coffee and either her flawlessness, or the fact that it’s your third coffee that morning, wakes in you a sense of urgency to be more presentable. You slather on nearly equal amounts of makeup as the ageless women with frozen smiles: two layers of foundation, followed by concealer in crucial spots, a couple brushes of peach-golden highlighter down the bridge of your nose and bronzer around your cheekbones. You accidentally get makeup on your left and right seat neighbors, who offer disgusted looks, which you barely register since you are starting to get dizzy. Your heart is beating so fast that you need to close your eyes for a while and imagine yourself away. When you land, it’s 100F and by the time you get a taxi, all your makeup ends up licking the pavement. People are unfazed about you looking like a clown who has been crying all day. Already, you feel you accomplished something big.

 

account_box More About

Ana lives in Switzerland, where she works as a freelance translator. If she is not working or hiking, she likes to write and paint. Her writing appeared in various journals, magazines and books, including Halcyon Magazine, Urban Fantasist, Cattails Magazine, Vagabond Journey and 'Whispers from the Past' Anthology (North2South Press). Her Artwork / Photography can be found at www.a-prundaru.wix.com.