The pink corridor

In Havana, Cuba, 2000. Photograph by Tanya Clarke

In Havana, Cuba, 2000. Photograph by Tanya Clarke

Writing Prompt No. 85

Patty sat on the hard plastic chair biting her fingernails.

The consulate was taking a long time. She knew he was busy but her father had been missing for three days and she knew something wasn’t right. Ex-military, all senses trained for danger, it was unusual for him to have been gone for so long.

This had happened before. A man had run at him while he crossed an airstrip in a remote part of Guatemala. He’d ripped open her father’s bag with a small knife and had grabbed at whatever had spilt out onto the floor.

Two days later his stolen identity had been used to cross the border into the US.

Patty was worried.

She’d been sat for over an hour already. Waiting. An adviser told her five minutes ago that the consulate would be ready in ten minutes. She checked her watch. She took the band out of her hair, combed it all back with her fingers and retied it into a neat ponytail. She buttoned her blouse up one more button. The skin on her legs was beginning to stick with sweat to the rough plastic of the chair. She was beginning to wish she’d worn her linen trousers rather than shorts.

Her father told her that if he was gone for longer than three days then that was a cause for concern and she should head for the embassy.

The pink paint of the corridor was giving everyone that walked through it a rosy hue. her skin looked burned against it. At least she knew he was able. But how able? He was older now. Not the strong young man she remembered as a child. This mattered. It was her turn now to save him.

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