The swing – a short story

The roar of airplane engines complimented the mid-morning busyness of the most remote city in the world. A blinding summer’s day sun shone through the family’s SUV tinted windows. The hum of the V8 in the Land Cruiser reverberated in mechanic synchrony as its off-road tires attacked the curb of Perth’s airport kiss and fly area. She put the car into parking and looked over at her husband.

‘Love you, honey. Call me when you get there.’ She said with a melancholic smile on her thin lips.  

‘I love you too,’ the husband replied, taking off his sunglasses and reaching over for the usual drop-off kiss.

‘Bye daddy!’ shouted the boys in unison from the back.

‘It’s only a couple of weeks boys, so you be good to your momma now, or else!’ The father said with a smile, stretching his toned right arm into the back seat to tickle the kids.

‘We will,’ they replied with mixed emotions. ‘See ya!’

‘Bye honey,’ he said one last time before reaching for his gym bag and leaving the car. ‘I love you.’

The man in a yellow vest whose sole purpose is to tell people to move on walked towards them and she mumbled a last goodbye, casting a final glance at her husband as he walked away in his reflective mining attire, bag over his shoulder. This FIFO-wife routine was one she was now perfectly used to but that never failed to stir her from within. She could feel the amounting distance growing between them as she repositioned her sunnies before putting the SUV into gear and driving away from terminal four.

The husband walked through the automatic glass doors without looking up at the flight schedule. He went to the café and ordered an extra strong long black with a dash of milk from a lady who knew him by name. He sat down and scrolled through his phone casually, sipping from his take-away cup.

When the final boarding call echoed through the wide-open space, the husband looked down at his silver watch and got up, coffee in hand. He picked up his bag and walked through the same glass door he had walked in from and lit up a cigarette. The airport man in the high-vis vest walked past him and gave him a nod of the head, which he returned. The sun seemed to feed and thrive on its own relentlessness across Perth’s sparse skies. The husband took a long, deep breath, enjoying his cigarette. As he did, a white sedan pulled up into the kiss and fly area, and the beautiful woman driving it honked the horn. The husband chucked the coffee cup and dropped the cigarette in front of his right foot, crushing it under his boot.

‘Hi honey, welcome home!’ the woman said through the open window. The toddler in the back seat squirmed in excitement.

‘Hi babe,’ the husband said as he entered the car. He kissed the mother of his child whose thick lips curled in joy.

‘Hey baby, I missed you!’ he said, looking back at the toddler and tickling her excited little legs.

‘How was it?’ she asked.

He exhaled.

‘Long. Feels good to be home.’

She put the car into gear and drove away.


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