Sofia Fernández Nuñez


Sofia Fernández Nuñez is a Honduran writer who recently graduated from the Savannah College of Art & Design. She finds inspiration in the women who raised her, the stories they told her, and her distant home. Her work has been published in Artemis, The Ride Gallery, and



        The morning José went back home, I was up by 4. He was not, and I let him sleep in, just for a bit. The room was blue and grey, the floor cold. Our cat took my place on the bed, curling against José without a sound. I watched them from the doorway, imagined a soft purring in the air, afraid because who knew how long it would be until all three of us could share a bed again.

        Before I knew him, I didn’t think long-distance relationships had a chance, especially one like ours – the kind that goes from living together to living far away, not knowing when we’ll see each other again. Just the other day, he said he hoped I’d have a steady job in October, an apartment, that I would already know the city I would live in.

        “Why’s that?”

        “There’s that long holiday in October, remember? A week,” he said. “And by then I’d have enough money saved up to visit.”

        “We’re in May,” I said, and I felt this tightness in my throat, as if everything inside me flattened to hold me together. But here we are, messaging everyday, every hour, and then, at night, talking on Skype until bed, and we pretend we’re sleeping together, the blue light of the laptop screen illuminating the empty space until the connection fails. It’s a cold substitute to someone next to you. What do you do, really, after the chance masturbation on camera, when you’re both tired and lonely but in love?

         He left because his job permit was up. We’re both foreigners, “international students,” with a deadline on our professional success. You graduate, you’ve got a year, and then if time runs out you go back to wherever you’re from. José went back to Honduras. In a year that could be me.

        Like a bad dream, I watched it all play out without being able to fix it. I helped him fold his shirts and pack them, I removed his canvases from their frames, rolled them into cardboard tubes for easy shipping. After he bought his plane ticket, we had takeout almost every day because groceries just seemed trivial. Our time together felt like the last fifty pages of a book, when you rush through them, unwilling, but because you need to. Every night we had wine or beer and watched a movie from our list; we got high and explored Savannah, pretending we were lost tourists on their honeymoon; we talked about our future on a park bench as we watched a toddler who could barely walk. I would wake up in the middle of the night, feeling caffeinated, alert, and I would study his nails, memorize his hairline, and cry as silently as I could.

        And that was that. The morning of his flight came. I prepared breakfast while he showered – bread, refried beans, mantequilla. Molletes, José calls them, and they smell like home. I know that if our places had been reversed, he would have thought of something more elaborate, something greasy and comforting that somehow included bacon and tomatoes, my two favorites. He manages, somehow, to carry on just fine when things don’t go his way, while I mourn possibilities as if they were close friends, and imagine everything that could make matters worse; I worry about cars crashing, unanswered messages, distance and silence.

        In the apartment we kind of shared, José walked around with a towel wrapped around him, like he had countless times, our cat trailing after him as if it knew. I recited a list of things he could have forgotten, wallet, passports, cards, bank statements, sketchbooks, chargers. He dressed with the tranquility of someone who doesn’t spend his time drowning in the what-ifs. He never thinks he’ll be late, he never imagines a wreck on the highway that will jam traffic, he never considers a misread schedule.

        And when he sees me worrying, he calms me. That morning, he said, “If I miss the flight then we have another day.”

        “But less money,” I said, and breathed the scent of his soap.

        He pulled out a key ring I had given him, the silver clinking softly. Among them was a fake old-fashioned key that came with the ring and doubled as a bottle opener.

        “You should have these back,” he said, and tried to free the keys, one for the building, one for the apartment. He always has trouble getting keys in and out of rings, his nails too short and his fingers too big.

        “It’s not like I have anyone else to give them to,” I said. “Maybe you can visit, later.”

        We ate breakfast, caloric and heavy. Our cat scratched the old carpet in the living room, the carpet where I’ve spilled my coffee countless times, where we would sit and eat and watch TV. José said something, something sweet and caring, something I don’t remember because I was too focused on not crying, not again. I listened to his voice, looked at his wet eyes, and I hugged him because there was nothing else I could do.

        When the cab came, I couldn’t stop myself from drenching his shoulder in goodbyes and I love yous. He kissed my face, my weepy nose, my chapped lips. And he left.

        I saw his face again that night on Skype. He was sectioned into pixels the color of his skin. His Internet connection was choppy at best – still is, and we have to alternate between speaking and typing, but the camera light is always on. I worry about angles, double chins, noticeable cleavage, flabby arms, but he always looks weary and happy, smiles at our cat when it sits on the keyboard, and we talk until we fall asleep together, imagining the next time our hands will touch.


© The Acentos Review 2015