THE ADVOCATE 687
VOL. 77 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2019
CHARLES DE GAULLE (CDG)
By Catherine Bright*
I want a divorce.”
I looked up. Aurélien was standing at the bathroom door with a
white towel around his waist. His body was dewy, his golden hair
still wet and matted from the shower. Warm steam and the faint
smell of eucalyptus wafted towards me. I was perched on the edge of the
bed, bending low to buckle the ankle strap of my shoe. I sat upright. Aur’s
bare feet were planted firm. He faced me squarely, but stared through me.
Several long moments passed.
“I want a divorce,” he repeated, soft and final. For a second, our eyes met.
Then Aur glanced away as if he had been caught staring at a stranger on the
It was about 8:00 a.m. when Aur made his announcement. He had taken
one of his morning rides. His sweaty spandex outfit was still draped over
the chair by the window. When he had come into the bedroom not 20 minutes
earlier, fresh off his bike and smelling like cool wind, he had kissed my
cheek as I fastened my suit skirt. “How was it?” I’d asked him, not turning
my gaze from the mirror. When he had responded, he was already moving
away and peeling off his top. “Good,” he’d chirped, terse but not rude. Aur
was never rude.
In the four months since that morning, I have often wondered what happened.
Did Aur make up his mind about our marriage during a shower
between a bike ride and getting dressed?
The airplane settles into flight. I stare out the small window. Southern
Ontario diminishes and disappears beneath me. Victoria to Calgary, Calgary
to Toronto and now Toronto to Paris.
I turn my vacant gaze to the airline magazine, to the TV screen in front
of me and to the lit no-smoking sign. My last cigarette was prior to boarding
on Vancouver Island, two connections ago. Rushed, delicious. Before Aur
moved out, I had hardly smoked since 2007. Only when I drank too much.
* This is the second place winner of the Advocate’s 2019 Short Fiction Competition. The rules of the competition required entrants
to include the sentence: “Will I be able to __________ ? Of course, you are in Paris!” in the text of their short story submission.