Unfinished Business

I could see her through the window.  Long cascading brown waves.  Her hair.  And the book she held, so close to her face.  Glasses?  Had she lost them earlier that day or month, or no, no glasses, just a close reader.  Perhaps she was a dreamer.  Reading, perhaps an escape.  She paused from reading and cried.  Her hands buried her face and she rock rocked in an oversized chair.
I wanted to touch her.

My breath was short.  The black mask I wore had cut open eye holes.  In the dying light of day I used my night vision binoculars.  Government business.  She was a threat.  But I only got a name.  That’s it.  Find.  Shoot.  Finito.  It was as though she anticipated the shot.  Her crying kept on.  Her arms were crossed and she rocked her upper body back and forth, like a daisy head on a drooping stem, soon to fall off in the wind. Hyperventilating sobs.  I could hear the way she might sound.  She wore a yellow spandex shirt and black leggings.  A honeybee.  Had she worked out at the gym down the street?   The clothing clung to her like a scuba diver’s suit, like a superhero’s outfit.

My index finger rested on the trigger.  She was so pretty.  Those cascading waves.  Those long legs.  Her hands pushed up against her face.  Her delicate face.  Little features, a tiny pointing chin, large eyes, lashes like a llama’s, a model, a queen, pale, she could be a mermaid or empress.  This was new.  I’d never done a woman.
She lived alone.  No one to help her bring in the grocery bags.  She’d been to the market.  I saw her bring in the bags and leave them on the kitchen counter.  Wouldn’t the milk go sour?  Did she have a backache?  How I’d love to rub and smooth out the kinks.

My index finger rested on the trigger.  I could see us.  The two of us on some beach, maybe Malibu.  Bali.  Brazil.  She’d be wearing nothing.  I wouldn’t either.  It’d just be us.  And I’d run my fingers through those cascading brown waves.  I’d touch her on that sharp little chin.  We’d read together on the sand and drink mojitos.  I’d marry her.  She’d look pretty even with a belly.  And we’d grow old and live in a simple house with a red door and three bedrooms, two baths, and also, we’d have a cat or dog or parakeet named Jim or Hector or Phyllis.
My suit was so hot that evening.  All the black.  I could have torn it off.  I could pretend to run into her on the street.  Tell her she looked familiar.  Ask her to coffee or shakes.  Shakes.  It’d be more fun, old style, white picket fence, simple house, red door.

I was sweating profusely.  She continued crying.  I could see it through the window.  And then I started crying.  Just a case.  The government.  Just an assignment.  A task.  A goal.  A contribution.  It was a silhouette.  Nothing more.  Just hair, legs, torso, nose, chin, the sharp little chin.  The legs, long, she moved like a gazelle.  Waves and waves of brown cascading hair, an ocean of tresses.  Who had the time to read?  And she’d read and then cried and then read some more.

My index finger.  My mask like fire.  All the sweat.

An eyelash.  I see it on the side of my finger.  My index finger.  The one on the trigger.  My brother used to say, blow and make a wish.

2 responses to “Unfinished Business

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