Marina was pacing back and forth in the airport terminal near Gate B30. They started calling for the premium passengers to board the flight to Recife. She went to the loo one more time just to be safe.Although the trip was short, only about 3 hours from Rio de Janeiro, she couldn’t imagine herself balancing to pee in the air. At least she imagined that it would be like doing it in the bus, everything shaking and, even worse when the bus suddenly stops. A nightmare.

Lucas held her sweating hands, stopping her for a few minutes, ‘You’ll love the experience! I’m here with you.’ In a way, his words calmed her down for a moment.She felt secure with him. She had never conceived she would fulfil her dream to go to the Northeastern beaches of Brazil to celebrate their first year together. Lucas had organised every detail of the trip, which left her speechless. She was finally having a break from her complicated and unlucky life.

The flight was even better than she expected, she wasn’t sick at all. She could picture herself dancing in the clouds. The city looked like a scale model, she loved the change in perspective. As soon as they arrived, they rented a car to drive along the coastline. Marina didnt blink, every second mattered. The song on the radio made the moment look like a film.

“'Cause there’s a place we like to drive,
Way out in the country,
Five miles out of the city limit we’re singing,
And your hand’s upon my knee…”

They stopped in different cities and beaches, ate local food and bought crafts. She would pinch her arm every now and then to be sure that she wasn’t dreaming. After one week, she had a small bruise in her left arm.

When she thought everything was perfect, she realised it wasn’t… yet.That night in a restaurant facing the most stunning beach she has ever seen, she was asked, ‘Will you marry me?’. She jumped pulling her arms around Lucas, and without fighting her tears, she gave him dozens of kisses.

While driving to the airport, they talked about the wedding and the trip. When silence fell, she would keep living all the moments again and again in her head. She smiled. The flight was delayed for an hour due to aircraft maintenance. She was happy to postpone her awakening.

‘Marina Lemos and Lucas Silva, please proceed to our balcony at the entrance of gate 2C’, was announced by the speakers. They looked at each other and shrugged.

When they arrived at the balcony, the attendant asked for their IDs and tickets, she had to double check some information in the system. She seemed distressed when she hung up the phone. Marina wasn’t really paying much attention, but she noticed that Lucas was a bit pale. He was looking at the security officers that were approaching them from behind her. She held Lucas’ hands, ‘What is going on?’

The officers asked them to go to a private room. Marina was still desperately trying to look for answers. She knew they had nothing to fear, however for some reason Lucas looked quiter and more distant than usual. He whispered in her ear, ‘I love you.’ She felt the tension melting away from her body, she was probably misjudging the situation. Certainly, something was happening, her head full of possible explanations.

Immediately after entering the room the officer said, ‘You two are under arrest. The policemen are on their way.’ Marina was shaking, her eyes and mouth wide opened. 'What? Why? What ‘s happening? Can someone explain it to us?’

She turned to face Lucas and he looked sad but not so confused as she was. She didn’t know what to think anymore. Maybe it was a mistake. Lucas was always confident, he may have been trying to control his anxiety while waiting for answers.

When the policemen arrived there was tension in the room. Marina stood up. ‘Could you please explain what on earth is happening?’

One of the policemen seemed surprised by her reaction. ‘I thought they had already told you about the cloned credit card and the identity fraud. I mean, you know what I’m talking about. How can you deny it? We have all the proof here. The other Marina Lima Lemos contacted the airline a few hours ago when she noticed the deception.’

Marina’s head was spinning and she almost fainted. She looked at her fiancé and her fairy tale was suddenly becoming a nightmare. The policeman noticed her genuine confusion and continued, ‘Such a smart move, using a similar name to organise a scam like this. You almost got away from it.’

Lucas finally said, ‘Marina is innocent. I arranged everything for this trip. Please let her go.’

Marina started sobbing. ‘Lucas, what have you done?’.

Lyrics: Power of Two by Indigo Girls.

contemporary fiction 2021/06/25

Published in the Women of Words Anthology in 2021 by Blackburne House, UK.