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Postcard From Arizona

Mimi smiles at the picture of the Grand Canyon on the latest postcard. JJ, her neighbor, sends her cards from every business trip.

He's also courteous in an enticing, gentlemanly way. She is susceptible to kindness.

She lifts the curtain, peeks across the courtyard and counts three newspapers on his doorstep. She'll have them picked up. It's the least she can do.

Maybe he'll eat Chinese with her; the restaurant at the corner delivers delicious Kung Pao. When he discusses Arizona, she'll study his dimples.

Last week she received a picture of the soaring Space Needle in Seattle. Before that, a card with stately Big Ben on it. She has arranged them on a cork board like a travel timeline. The Taj Mahal, The Eiffel Tower, Niagara Falls—he has taken her on many journeys with him.

She flips today's card for his usual, brief message.

"No more travel for me," he writes. "My job doesn't allow for a relationship." JJ has made the decision to quit his job and move to Arizona so he can be with Sheena.

Mimi rolls her wheel chair to the cork board. While pinning the postcard, it slips from her wobbly hand. She clenches her teeth, then breathes as she's been taught.

"Someday, you'll go to London," he'd said.

He knows she doesn't stand a chance.

She lifts the cork board off the wall, throws it on the floor. The frame cracks. Big Ben, Niagara Falls and Taj Mahal scatter like debris.

Story by:

Sudha Balagopal

20 June 2017