Jessica Dur


Surprise

by Jessica Dur


A week away from home feels much longer. My heart is like a clumsy piece of luggage with frivolous straps. Every day I consider giving it away: to the river guides who are fluent in flirtation, the Norwegian guy whose key I can hear in the door next to mine.

The rain breaks the afternoons open. I nap on top of the sheets with the windows cracked and come close to crying—because he isn't here, because the only thing worse than missing him is trying too hard to forget him. In the waning drizzle I eat sliced pineapple and marvel at my humid-born curls, the smear of dead cockroach on the sidewalks.

In Costa Rica, the tourist road is paved with swim-up bars and volcano hikes, so well established that I find myself wandering, looking for an edge. It takes two jeeps and a boat ride to get to Monte Verde, the crown jewel of the cloud forest. I meet Matt, a cute blond Aussie who wants to go zip-lining. He tells me about a waterfall that's not even covered in the Lonely Planet. We agree to drop our packs off at our hostels and go for a walk, rain be damned.

Today the forgetting has come easy. So when I see his shadowy grin moving towards me out of the dank hallway of the hostel, I think I must be hallucinating. When he says “Surprise, baby!” my stomach slides down into my pinkie toe. Matt disappears.

Suddenly I know what it feels like to get what I thought I wanted. It feels like the first ominous crackle of thunder in a place that's too close to home after all.






Jessica Dur lives and writes in Santa Rosa, California, to the tune of her husband's piano playing and their newborn's gurgles. Her writing has appeared in The Sun, Fractured West, Hip Mama, Frostwriting, mothering.com, and others. She blogs at www.gyrlwryter.blogspot.com.

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