—Lyle RosdahlThe Man in the Brown Jacket by DF Salvador “Is that him?” The man in the brown jacket Joan was referring to had just passed by for the second time, studying each of the three doors labeled HOSPITAL STAFF ONLY, trying to decide which he should attempt to enter. “It has to be,” Lucy said. “There’s no one else here.” On the television playing in the lobby, the late night talk shows were getting underway. Lucy stood and gave a half wave, which the man clearly saw but pretended not to see. “Sit down!” Joan said to her daughter. “You’re embarrassing yourself.” Lucy turned to her husband for support, but he was too immersed in watching Jay Leno try to free himself from the fangs of a baby tiger cub to get involved. She stood again and forced a smile to go along with her wave. “Sit down this instant!” Joan said again. “I have no interest in meeting that man even if he is here to see Michelle.” “Mother, you’re going to have to meet him someday. We can’t keep this up. They’re going to get married sooner than you’d like to think.” Joan pretended to faint, slumping in her chair, almost slinking to the ground. Lucy instinctively went to her mother’s aid before recognizing the bluff and stopping. By the time she turned back around, the man had disappeared behind one of the doors. “Don’t say such wicked things,” Joan said, crossing herself repeatedly. “Just because she has moved out does not mean that she is not still married in God’s eyes.” “They’ve been divorced for three years now,” Lucy said. “Still married in God’s eyes.” “She’s been dating Steve now for over a year.” The man in the brown jacket reappeared, again looking lost. Joan squeezed her eyes shut and covered them with her forearm. “Still married in God’s eyes.” “Mom! This has got to stop.” She tugged her husband’s arm. “Michael, do something.” “What? What do you want me to do?” “Go up to that guy. See if he’s here to see Michelle,” Lucy pleaded. “I don’t even know that man. How do you know he’s not just a boyfriend of one of the nurses who’s working a little overtime?” He returned his attention to Leno. “Seriously, Michael? Seriously? Seriously?” Lucy repeated raising her voice a notch each time. “Maybe Steve listens to Michelle,” she muttered. “Still married in God’s eyes,” her mother said. --- Lyle Rosdahl, a writer living in San Antonio, edits the flash fiction blog & best of in print for the Current. He created, facilitates and participates in Postcard Fiction Collaborative, a monthly flash fiction response to a photo. You can see more of his work, including photos, paintings and writing, at lylerosdahl.com. Send your flash to [email protected].