Tomas Baiza

And Then A Wind

Just before the train emerges from the tunnel comes a breeze that swells into a gust and then a wind. Some mornings it’s hot, others cool. Either way, it helps me figure out what kind of day it’s going to be. I can feel its first whisper on my face now, flowing from the tunnel and down the channel that soon will be stuffed by a speeding train occupying every inch of space between the platform and the far wall. Last week a woman’s terrier broke loose and chased a rat down there. A couple of us jumped onto the tracks and got the dog out just before the train arrived. It was exhilarating and terrifying, that stirring of air. Like there was something inevitable in it.  

But I can’t decide whether this morning’s breeze is hot or cold because I’m a little distracted just now.  There you are, walking towards me. Your dazzling, up-and-coming sales manager smile outshines the train’s lights winking in the tunnel behind you. You wave your gloved hand. Like we’re friends, like we have a connection because you work with my wife. Ah, Kevin. I think you have no idea. It seems you’re unaware that she and I have had, you know, The Talk. About the conference, the hotel bar, the knock on her door later that night, the separate taxis back to the airport.  There’ve been tears. A few rough weeks. Our kids are quiet at the dinner table now. And in the bedroom it’s…well, let’s just say it’s like you’re there and I’m not into threesomes.  

The breeze picks up and makes the beaded sweat on my forehead tingle.  You call out my name and I marvel at the pure, unadulterated warmth of your voice as it competes with the surge of possibilities from the tunnel. I read this morning that police narrowly averted an act of violence in the London Tube. Don’t you love that they call it The Tube? That literal Brit whimsy. We just call it BART. How utterly boring. We really do need to spice it up somehow. The gust is now a true rush, the force of it ruffling your long raincoat and curly blonde hair. How could you be more handsome? I can see what my wife saw in you. What she still sees when you pass in the hallways or sit across from one another at meetings.

Those broad shoulders block sight of the train as it bursts from the tunnel.  You’ve shifted your briefcase from one hand to the other and you’re coming in for the shake, elbow bent, shoulder cocked at that angle just so. The way men do.  

The wind has become a hurricane. Taking your hand firmly in mine, I glance down at the tracks and think of the terrier and the rat.  

And the inevitable wind.

Ah, Kevin, damn our luck. This wind is hot. It is so unbearably hot.

~~~

Tomas Baiza

Tomas Baiza was born and raised in San José, California, and currently lives in Boise, Idaho. He holds master’s degrees from Indiana University and the University of Michigan, and earned his doctorate from the University of Oregon. Tomas’s first fiction work “Adelante/Onward” appeared in NYMBM. He is currently working on his first novel, Deliver Me.