She was in bed, almost asleep, when he entered the room, performed his ritual of removing his watch, folding his pants, hanging his shirt and then taking off his boxers before sliding between the sheets. His cell rang. It was after midnight.
He sat up, glanced at the screen, his face illuminated silver by the glow. He looked quickly at her and then left the room.
“Yeah, I remember the concert of his we went to. So Long, Marianne. Yeah, I remember. Great songs,” he said.
She knew who it was then. She turned over, attempting to ignore the old jealousy that seeped through her with hot, ugly blood. She thought the woman had stopped calling, but that was the landline. Obviously she had his cell.
“I miss you too,” she heard him say and her stomach dipped. She felt stupidly vulnerable lying in bed in a black lace nightgown listening to him talk to his old lover. She felt open to scores of wounds that had healed ever so slowly, always threatening to abscess.
His words became whispered. She thought they sounded loving, respectful, devotional as if part of a Sunday hymn, something sacred, something for a beloved.
“Monday’s not good,” he said.
She hugged the pillow against her, its coolness discomforting, and all of the old feelings of mistrust returned, with their long foul “fuck me red” fingernails. He was far enough away she couldn’t make out the words, but not far enough away that she couldn’t make out the tone. The tone seared through her abdomen, a knife jutting and yanked upward.
When he returned, he slid between the sheets, his back to her. In moments she heard his breath flatten and the emptiness of soft snores as he padded to dreams, leaving her to awakened, disconsolate sorrow.
Categories: Flash Fiction