diary / by Edward Mullany


Among the travelers near a gate at the airport from which my flight was soon departing was a woman who’d fallen asleep reading a paperback that at first was resting on her knee, where she’d placed it face down, with the covers showing, as if she’d hoped to keep her page and start reading again whenever she woke and picked it up, but that at some point slipped to the carpet near her feet, where it landed on its front, so that the pages fluttered shut, and where it remained until a toddler hurried past and happened to nudge it or kick it with its foot, though the toddler didn’t realize, but instead kept going, so that the book slid beneath the woman’s seat, and I saw that she might not understand where it had gone when she woke and began to look for it, although, as it turned out, the man who was traveling with her, and who’d wandered off to some other part of the concourse, to pass the time or get something to eat, noticed it as he came back, and knelt down and reached for it and brought it up and placed it on her lap, and then stood and sat down beside her, so that when she did wake, a few minutes later, and the two of them started talking, she saw the book, where she figured it must have been, and took it up, and found her page, and didn’t know that anything had happened to it, which, in a way, nothing had.