Please give a full review - pull apart sentences if necessary. Also, I realized I may not have quite lived up to the challenge because I never mentioned "road" or "traveling." So, again, full review, please.
Samantha had spent the last week in suspension, waiting for doctors and nurses to give her some kind of real information instead of vague hints and reassurances. Her laptop, journal, and book had gone untouched in her bag. She had eaten hospital oatmeal in the cafeteria with little sugar, and had . . . enjoyed it?
She really couldn’t remember the taste, but the warmth had been soothing. The cup of tomato basil soup she had eaten with oyster crackers had been slightly more memorable with a strong taste of basil, and the crackers becoming mushy lumps at the bottom of the bowl before she had finished it. Across from her at that meal, her father had poked at his salad with rheumatoid fingers crooked around his fork, and his mouth making a moue of distaste at the ranch dressing. He had assumed it was a Caesar dressing.
She remembered those things, and the feel of the smooth table under her fingers, along with the way she had set their table with precision, napkins and utensils to the sides, and cups arranged at easy hand-reach level for sipping their tea. She had made sure the table was clean, but still spread a napkin under their dishes. When she thought of that, she realized it was something she hadn’t done since she was a teenager, since before Joey, who ate with speed and efficiency, consuming just enough calories and no more and doing so quickly that he often ate before she finished her “fussy” pre-meal rituals.
She liked her rituals. They brought comfort. So, as she sat in one more waiting room chair, this time in the law office, she carefully placed her purse to her right, leaned against her leg, with her hands resting across the top of it. She crossed her legs properly at the ankles, and tried to make something out of the geometric patterns on the rug. They were too tangled to be pathways, except where they were cut short against the window wall.
Samantha felt drawn to the blue sky beyond the glimmering cityscape. But she could not think of that now, in this solemn moment. She studied the carpet again until her lawyer’s secretary said her name.
In the board room, she had to face Joey.
He tried to make his face into a mask of platitude, but his ever-present wry smirk ruined it. “I hope you’re all right, Sam. I mean, your mother.”
Samantha ignored him and sat down next to her lawyer. “My mother’s death changes nothing in his proceeding.”
“I only meant that . . .”
Joey’s lawyer put a hand on his arm. “Mr. Hutchins. I think we should proceed.”
“I thought we were getting an amicable divorce, Sam,” Joey said.
Samantha gave him her best level stare.
The proceedings continued, and she studied the smoothness of the heavy, legal papers under her hands as she signed them, and made sure they were carefully tucked to satisfying neatness when she was finished. Joey said a few more things, but she paid less attention to the sound of his voice than the buzzing of a trapped fly on the window sill.
When she turned to leave, her lawyer put her hand out, “If you need anything?”
She shook her head and left the office.
She could see Joey holding the door to the elevator for her.
She shook her head and opened the door to the stairwell.
The carpet ended abruptly for blue-gray concrete, and the stairs were painted in a garish emergency yellow.
She took off her heels and let her feet soak in the coolness from the concrete. She climbed steadily with her shoes and purse pinned to her by her right hand. At the top of the stairs, just four flights up, she opened the door to the roof.
The blue sky horizon above the skyline beckoned her.
Samantha thought of her father’s favorite saying. “It’s always a good day to fly.” She imagined him in his plane, soaring over the fields of their small town. She held out her arms and then took off her suit jacket so she could feel the cool prickle of the breeze on her arms. She breathed in deep, breathed out slowly, then put her hands on the ledge.
Below her, people bustled like ants in a packed maze of streets. She didn’t want to rejoin them. She wanted to fly. The urge was so strong, she almost pulled herself up onto the ledge, but she stopped herself, keeping her bare feet planted on the building’s roof. She didn’t need to jump to fly.
The tiny air field in her old home town had a private pilot school. She had enough saved for that. Her dad had offered to have her stay with him. A year ago, she would have scoffed at any middle-aged woman moving back in with her father, but now? She knew it was the right choice at this moment. She could go home, learn how to fly, and live her remaining life with joy and peace.