I Cancel Your Plane Tickets

Photo by Alexander Kovalev on Pexels.com

by Rita Mookerjee

issue 76

since you won’t be coming to the island the way we’ve 
been planning for months, it’s a pretty ideal time to break

the news to me. After weeks of fighting, I pull up pictures 
of the bamboo hut on the water that we chose, though we 

knew that a single ceiling fan would do little to cool us 
after fucking and drinking. After all, neither you nor I 

would be caught dead in some sterile all-inclusive joint or
a cheesy cruise ship like the one where those people sat 

stranded off the California coast, now cursed with a fortnight 
in airport quarantine. Serve them right, I half-joked. All they

do is steal shells and jars of sand and underpay the locals. I 
joke too much which is part of why you’re ending things. 

I pictured taking you to get coconut water on the roadside 
where they cut the coarse shells to make spoons for scooping 

out the white jelly. I imagined taking our pick of fishermen 
wins to fry and eat somewhere nearby with callaloo and 

plantains. All of this could have been if not for my temper, 
You know, we could have fled to the hut in Oracabessa which is 

not far from Kingston, though I was hesitant to travel. I didn’t 
want our week together wasted on a bus because I never seem

to take trips that feel like vacation. There is usually an odd 
smell, an allergic reaction, a hangover; something to wedge

itself between rest and me. Of course, this would have been
your vacation, not mine. Kingston is just where I work despite

days spent drinking soursop on the veranda, dancing on Water
Lane against the juicy backdrops of street murals fresh on old 

stone. I wanted to take you up Stony Hill where the roads have
no guard rails and bromeliads peer from their tree trunk anchors.

Catalpa pods litter the way to the top where you can see all of 
Kingston and its crown of mountains. You love to hike and walk,

but I don’t think I could make it both ways on foot. I’d call 
a friend to drive us up so you could get a view that is nothing like

your flat Iowa city. In secret I wished that you would get stranded
here, barred from re-entering the U.S. Your mother would have been

inconsolable while you stressed about your research, antsy
without your lasers and lab. But I would have been beyond content.

You would have napped while I laughed at the stock market, smoking
and writing at length until blackbirds and waxbills screamed you awake.