Excerpt from Perfect Odds by Lashanta Charles
Callista is meeting her fiancé at the airport so they can fly out to N.Y. where they’re supposed to get married, but it seems plans have been changed without her knowledge.
“James? Where are you? They’re boarding everyone now,” I say when I answer.
“I’m not coming,” he says.
I pause in making my way to the attendant station. Surely I heard him wrong.
“Hang on a sec, let me ask them how long we have before they can no longer wait. If you’re here already it shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll just need to hurry. Like, sprint through the airport or maybe get one of those guys on the carts to give you a ride somehow.”
The attendant smiles at me and holds her hand out for my boarding pass. I move to give it to her, but hear James speaking again.
“Cali, you’re not listening. I’m not there. I’m not coming,” he says.
Pulling my boarding pass away from the attendant, I force a smile and step away for privacy. “What are you talking about, James? I’m here waiting for you.” As if he doesn’t know that. He helped me load our luggage into the car before I left this morning. Is this some sick joke he’s pulling right now?
“I’m not coming, Cali,” James repeats for the third time.
I stare numbly at the ‘now boarding’ screen above the attendant. I heard him the first two times. It makes as much sense now as it did then – none.
“I don’t understand. You can’t not come. I can see if they’ll schedule us for a different flight. I’m sure it’s not too late. We’re getting there early enough that one day won’t really matter,” I tell him.
He lets out an exasperated sigh. He’s annoyed? We’re two weeks away from our wedding and I’m at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, sans fiancé. I battled an hour and a half of traffic to get here and get us both checked in two hours early, lugged all our suitcases – overweight, I might add – only for him to call when it’s time to board the flight to New York and tell me he’s not coming, yet, he’s the one who’s annoyed?
“I don’t know what else to say, Cali. I’m trying to do right by you here. We both knew this wouldn’t end well.”
I splutter. Try as I might, I can no longer get the words to flow from my mouth to have this conversation. We didn’t know anything of the sort. Do right by me? How is standing me up for our wedding doing right by me? I didn’t ask to marry myself. I didn’t insist on us having a short engagement or me moving in with him. I definitely didn’t count on any of this.
About Lashanta Charles So I don’t really have anything too witty, but I have a 6-year-old with a sharp tongue. One of the things I always tell my kids is that mommy and daddy knows everything. So one day I’m taking my daughter to the store to buy toys with her birthday money. This is how the conversation went:
Her: So, who gave me this birthday money?
Me: Poppy (Grandad)
Her: Oh, I really miss Poppy. I want to go see him.
Me: Well, you have to wait until this summer, when you’re out of school.
Me: Because you have to learn things in school and if you miss a day, you’ll miss what you need to learn and then you won’t know everything.
Her: Ohhhhh, you mean like you and daddy don’t really know everything even though you say you do?
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