by Katrina Johnston
Best friends since grade nine, Morgan and Diana share allegiance. Over the years they’ve danced and partied, whispered lofty secrets, giggled and cried, and never stayed mad for more than a week. Now, at age 31, each claims the decorous state of wise and worldly. Morgan tries.
Harbour Air offers weekend rates back to Victoria. One-way is $161.95. Morgan had proffered a credit card. Diana will be waiting for the float plane – waiting for Morgan to return from heady bipolar clouds and Diana will not scold or admonish. She will enfold Morgan within her arms, encircling with a squashy hug. Knowing how to soothe, Diana is the magic glue that holds them together.
The flight feels like an eternity. The instrument clock reads 25 minutes, the usual passage. Morgan leans toward the sunshine to examine her third finger. Flickers of light bounce through the portal window. The plane glides over the sparkling outer harbour. She examines her knuckle; still a circlet of green.
“Hunk of copper,” she whispers because it's secret, a gilt engagement ring with glass ‘diamond’, the ring she has abandoned in madness on the dresser in Vancouver. Fresh tears cascade and Morgan balls-up a well used kleenex. Useless! Made his bogus promises. Shameful. So she shopped and imagined new sweet hopes from the dollar store because stupid Alan couldn’t, wouldn’t, didn’t. Pretense. No big frikkin’ stupid reason. Except she wanted. Morgan decided to never fall for real.
The pilot is a tall and round shouldered man named Bertram. Thankfully, Bertram does not turn and Morgan continues crying soundlessly. Her stomach hurts.
Yeah, Diana will know exactly the words to impart. She’ll prop Morgan up, empathize. She’ll take care of sadness. She will offer slices of poppy-seed cake with orange zest and then tea with generosity of booze.
The pilot eventually swivels around, drops the headset to his shoulders. “We’ve got a situation Miss,” he says. “The float plane can’t land anywhere near the docks today. Apparently there’s a flotilla of small boats and they're bobbing where they shouldn’t be. They’ve amassed for the Enbridge protest. Scattered themselves throughout our landing ranges. We’ve radioed on ahead and we do expect a clearing, but it might be quite some time before we’re down. The estimate is 40 minutes. Sincere apologies for this unexpected delay.”
Morgan dabs her eyes. She wipes away the snot. She’s needs another tissue. She spots Diana’s afro, a recognizable head of hair even from an altitude of 250 feet, a big beautiful halo of fuzzy brown. The plane circles and circles and holds a pattern. Morgan’s best friend is standing on the dock, shimmery in a bright red skirt and an old plaid jacket, waiting to listen forever. If Diana thinks it wise to weep, they’ll turn it on like faucets.
Morgan waits in the sky. She forgets the phony ring and Alan. She dreams about fixing her own hair in a new outrageous style.
Katrina Johnston has several short fiction stories published online. Once in a while she breaks into print. She is the winner of the CBC Canada Writes True Winter Tale. The goal of her writing is to try, to share, and to dream. Katrina lives in Victoria, BC, Canada.
Twitter: Katrina Johnston @Momtrina