A Little Airshow

by Kim Chinquee


On my fourth date with the banker, I wait at the table. He arrives talking on his phone, in his suit and tie. He’s some minutes late, as he said he would be. I was a minute late, so I’m relieved that finally this time, he didn’t arrive before me. We’re at Angelo’s, a place he’s never been. He asked me to pick a place near me. The place is Italian and not as fancy as the one down the street he’s been to many times.

When he gets to the table, I stand, we hug. We kiss. I say, “I already ordered wine.” I haven’t sipped it yet though. I ordered a sparkling and like to watch the bubbles.

He’s tall. His hair is white and clean-cut. His eyes are blue. He has dimples, white teeth and clear skin. I keep forgetting his age, but I think that he is sixty. I teach art. I should be better about numbers. I’m just over fifty. We met on Match. The inventory, at least for me, and what I’m looking for, is pretty slim there.

Our last time together was at my house, after he had dinner with his mother. It was my first time seeing him wearing something casual. Shirt and jeans. I gave him a tour of my garden, and though it was starting to get late, the moonlight glowed on the roses, the bellflowers, and he said he loved the scent. We hugged there in the back and he kissed my neck. My dogs wagged their tails. The singing birds gave us a little airshow.

He stayed the night. He gave me backrubs. After sex, he held me in his arms, and said it was my job to stay there. He fell asleep and started snoring. I stayed locked into his arms. I tried to relax. I told myself to relax. I told myself, enjoy this. After a while, I just told myself to take in all the senses. I took in his smell. The texture of his skin. The sound of him. I studied his face and even watched him breathe. I finally fell asleep there.

He’s regional president and manages 34 banks. Or maybe 43? He gets up at five am and does yoga every morning. My first time at his apartment, we woke early and had another round of touching. He lives downtown in a renovated apartment with high ceilings. His unit is the highest. He made me coffee. I wasn’t sure I’d see him again.

I can miss the bus on some things.

This is my first spring/summer in my new home. New things bloom each day. Today it was the hollyhock. Yesterday, daylilies spouted up. And the trumpet vine! Every morning, after breakfast, I visit the raspberry bushes, and eat every ripe thing I see. Every one’s a gift. Every one’s delicious!

I drive to the lakeshore, where I swim with fellow athletes. We wear nylons under wetsuits to help us get them on right. Through goggles, we see rocks and fish. We rotate our arms and legs, our bodies, moving through the waves. Loons are quiet trumpets on the water. I cycle with my friends, and we ride for miles with hydration systems, disc brakes, electronic shifting, carbon wheels. We go down hills at high speeds. Sometimes we have to traverse to get up them.

After Angelo’s, the banker comes to my place.

We go up to my bedroom.

We remove our clothes and we wait for the roar.


Kim Chinquee is the author of seven collections, most recently SNOWDOG (Ravenna Press). Her next collection PIPETTE is forthcoming with Ravenna Press, along with her novel-in-flashes BATTLE DRESS (Orphan + Widow House). She’s the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, senior editor of NEW WORLD WRITING, chief editor of ELM LEAVES JOURNAL, and she co-directs the writing major at SUNY-Buffalo State.


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What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “A Little Airshow”?

“A Little Airshow” was crafted using prompt words and a prompt sentence: airshow, inter-tube, lakeshore, loon, trumpet, Wait for the roar. I chose these prompts for my writing group while doing an open water swim in Lake Erie with my triathlon friends, and there were spectators all around waiting for an air show. I was curious about that. I guess that was the stem of this piece.


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