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Airport Gift Shop

Will Fuller

Let’s see here. What have we got? Headphones, raincoat, changes of underwear, and, of course, a book I will absolutely not read. Boarding starts in twenty… and there’s something I forgot. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s just the way I always feel, like how no matter how many times I double-triple check I-






I forgot to get you a present. Again.


But you don’t care that I forgot to get you a present. You care because you know why I forgot to get you a present.


You care because you know that I must still feel it. From the dull swell in my skull, beneath the airy lift that sweeps my body, through the dizzying, occasional lurches in my stomach that will linger all day, all the way to the refreshed tremor you can see at the tips of my fingers. 


Oh yeah, you know I’m hungover alright.


How many times have I done this now? I kind of stopped counting after Mom’s birthday.


I know you’re getting sick of this. I know how it’s eating at you like a century of salt water at the hull of a boat awaiting the return of its only living sailor. I want to tell you that that sailor will be back, even though I know he went overboard three months ago. 


They say his birth certificate is still in its file.


I want to tell you I will “get it together.” But I can’t, because there are few things I hate more than making promises I don’t know I can keep.


No. Instead, you get to watch me do this.


Entry admitted with a pink paper ticket priced at 17.99, you are the sole spectator to a show you’ve seen at least three dozen times.


You know how this one goes. Every plot point, every twist, every pop culture reference, even all the cameos. From the very first scene where I crawl into the bottle, to the underwhelming finale where, still trapped inside, I roll out of bed the next morning with a thud on the carpet.


And once it’s all over, when the reel stops rolling, after I’ve shattered the bottle from the inside, I am left to pick up the pieces - the scattered fragments of a night I don’t remember. Yes, you’ve seen this show many times before, and yet here I am, begging you again for the synopsis.


Maybe one day, we can burn down that dank, rotting theater together. Until then, I am left to tread water in the stew of every missed call I’ve never returned, every plot idea that I’ll never put to paper, and every party I have left without telling you goodbye. Served with a side of the memory of the Waffle House cook with whom I got into an argument over the merits of the Soviet space program at 1:37 AM on a Sunday. 


So, here I am, in the terminal, alone, and desperate to bring home to you an exhibit of fabricated evidence that I’m not completely fucking up. I can feel the walls sliding around me, and my line of sight has become something I must now physically balance so I don’t capsize at Gate B13.


Boarding starts in twenty.


After dressing myself down over the obscene price I’ll have to pay, I decide to bite the bullet and bring you back a shot glass from the airport gift shop.

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