Killing Time

By Barbara Sweeney

It was the time before euros.  It was the time before color bled from Livy’s life like a fading foreign currency. The stone bench felt smooth to her touch. In the small park not far from Heinrichsgasse, she sat and wondered how long it would take for Frau Solderer to make up her room.  She was dying for a nap.
The flight had been long, fourteen uneventful hours, changing planes in Frankfurt.  Now comfortably wrapped in her cashmere coat on a stone bench in Vienna, Livy looked forward to three days on her own.  No friends, no family, no traveling companions.  Just three days to do as she pleased in a city that kept drawing her back.
The day began to darken, and children playing around her in the park threw leaves at each other.  Their mothers called to give them cups of hot cider from thermoses they’d carried in rucksacks.  In the November twilight, Livy saw that the mothers were friends.  She saw that they would stay late in the park, postponing the children’s dinners in order to keep company with each other.  She wondered about their marriages, if they just could not bear to go home…

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