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El Tobogan

By Emily Brisse

‘So thirty,’ my husband says to me, his legs stretched out over the top of his carry-on suitcase. We are sitting in a busy airport terminal—tourists and families, the jostle and anxiety of the pre-board—minutes away from beginning our return flight out of San Jose, Costa Rica.

     “Where to when we’re thirty-five?”

     “Anywhere,” I say, smiling. I lean my head on his shoulder, and he steadies his atop mine. It’s a warm and comfortable closeness, an intimacy we’ve found our way back to on this trip, a stitch we both want to keep tight. I am conscious, however, that I can’t see his eyes. A little girl in braids skips past us. “Might be trickier, though,” I say. “You know, if by then we have kids.”

     It hasn’t been a point of serious contention, not really. Our families haven’t pressed us to have children. We’ve been busy: jobs, school, condo, loans, friends. The full and harried lives of twentysomethings blazing toward a flickering future point. And thirty is still young. So young, we tell ourselves. Yet, the way these next years will look, how we might fill them, and when, are sometimes unspoken and always unanswered questions that have crept between us, defining the distant pockets of air that can line the contrails of five years of marriage.

     It would be good, we’d decided, to get away, to slow down, to create a caesura in which we might forego the questions, experience the same sun together, rebind.


About the Author

Emily Brisse’s essays have been published widely, and have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Hippocampus, Atticus Review, The Fourth River, and River Teeth. She teaches English at Breck School in Minneapolis.