by anusha anwer
She sat and stared at her computer screen for some time. “Thank you for the opportunity to read this one,” the email said. “But I’ll pass.” The first time she read the line, it struck her as odd. So odd in fact that her cheek muscles were about to contract in the beginnings of a confused, incredulous smile. She was in her pajamas and it was perhaps 3 a.m. in the morning. Her eyes were smarting and watering, despite the doctor’s prescribed eye-drops that she made sure to take regularly (fat load of good that did). It was her second mug of black coffee in two hours and fifth rejection in a week. But this, —she squinted at the name below the oneline reply — Loraine Cohurse didn't care, no. “Hey, Ames.” Rob sauntered into their room. “You’ve got to check this out.” She was thirty-two and he was thirty-seven, and perhaps both of them were too old to be dawdling about and around. They should just marry already. Shouldn’t they just marry already? She turned with the most nonchalant expression she could manage. “‘Thank you for the opportunity to show me this one’,” she said, tasting the words in her mouth. “‘But I’ll pass.’” 32
“Huh?” Rob frowned in confusion. His eyes were a mahogany brown and he was a head taller than her. His childhood in Ireland had left him with a permanent drawl in his speech that she loved – it was, in fact, the first thing she’d noticed about him eons ago when they’d met. She shook her head out of a daze and smoothed out the grimace on her face (so much for nonchalance). “Sorry.” She waved a hand and stood up. “What were you saying?” He raised his eyebrows doubtfully. “The news,” he started slowly as they made their way out into the living room. “There’s been a hurricane in New Orleans.” “Really? Did you call your parents?” “Yeah, they say they’re okay. Car’s been damaged because of a tree and lawn’s flooded but that’s about it.” Their coffee table was a mess – strewn with papers, dirty coffee mugs, a half-empty bag of chips, a laptop and bubblegum wrappers. A quilt lay hanging from the side of the sofa, and there were about three novels lying in various positions around the side of the table. The muted TV in front of their sofa featured a bald, suited man gesticulating wildly as updates about the storm rolled in under him.