Table of Contents - Vol. VII, No. 2
Don't Wake me When You Leave
It was just after two in the morning when they finished. She slid off him, onto her side of the bed, and lit a cigarette. He didn't smoke, and hated it when she did, but she lay there, naked below the waste, wearing her ex-boyfriend's Packers jersey. The only light in the room came from the streetlight outside, and the tip of the cigarette.
"She must be something, your wife." She smiled.
He shook his head. "She's ordinary."
"Am I ordinary?"
A car drove by, probably someone coming back from the bars. That was the only traffic in trailer parks at night: lovers and drunks.
Everyone else knew enough to stay indoors, to get some sleep, to leave well enough alone.
"I don't think I'm coming again," he said.
"Is that a pun?"
"I mean it."
"I know you do. You said it last time."
"And I'm saying it this time."
"And the time before that."
"Well, I mean it."
She glanced at him and smiled, but he was staring at the watermarks on the ceiling. She turned away and took one last puff from the cigarette, then stamped it out in the ashtray beside the bed. She pulled something in her arm doing so and squealed in pain. He said nothing.
She massaged her arm, wincing. After a few minutes the pain was still there, only it was a memory, and memories she could live with.
She thought of lighting another cigarette, then decided it would be too hard to get back to sleep. She said, "Well, Ray, do what you have to. Just don't wake me when you leave."
"I never do."
"You did once."
"Oh." He yawned. She watched his jaw stretch. Thirty-five, or thirty-seven, one or the other, but either way he still looked good.
Some facial fat, but not much. She had more, but she also had a better body, and breasts that still hadn't sagged. She watched what she ate and jogged a couple miles every morning, but she had enough blessings that she could count them, although not so many that she enjoyed counting them.
But she didn't follow it up with a question, and he didn't ask. She nodded to herself and turned onto her side, away from him. She stared at the red numbers of the alarm clock for a while, but they didn't change. She closed her eyes and said, "See you Sunday, Ray."
He mumbled something, but she was already drifting to sleep. She felt the bed shift, and then she was in darkness, and everything was acceptable—not good, not even okay, but acceptable. Those blessings again.
© Daniel Davis