In a Providence Motel by Francine Witte

He told her he had news and let’s get away to Rhode Island. He told her he wanted the news to be separate from the rest of their lives. They took the train and checked into a papery motel. They sat all night, mildew and floral bedspread, her waiting and him nodding and close to speech. The morning light through the curtains fell across his face in a way that made him almost young, how he looked when she still loved him. “I’m dying,” he finally said when the air would hold no more silence. She sipped the last of the drugstore wine. “We all are,” she said. “Yes, but I really am,” he said. “Something growing in my chest.” Her mouth almost forming into I’m sorry. She never knew anymore what was true. She looked at the empty plastic cup and wished it were filled with coffee. Through the thin wall, the grunts of an early morning couple. She wondered if that’s how he sounded when he slept with her sister. She looked again at the plastic cup and realized it would split open if it were filled with hot coffee. She looked at her husband who still looked young and loveable in the morning light which is almost always a terrible liar.

Biography: Francine Witte’s flash fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous journals. Most recently, her stories have been in Best Small Fictions and Flash Fiction America. Her latest flash fiction book is Just Outside the Tunnel of Love (Blue Light Press.) Her upcoming collection of poetry, Some Distant Pin of Light is forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press. She lives in NYC. Visit her website Twitter @francinewitte.