His cell phone glows with the crispness of white numerals. It’s 3:14 AM and he lies on the left side of a queen-sized bed, wrinkles and cool covers his companion on the right. Exhausted from a long day of phone calls, emails and an irritating checkered necktie, he manages to stay awake far beyond what he thought was possible. His stimulant: worry.
When at last his wife slides into bed, almost fully clothed, pantyhose and makeup, the tendrils of darkness and dreamless sleep recede enough to arouse him. It is not yet light out. He catches the worn residue of another man’s scent radiating from her skin.
He rolls into her, prepared to ask her where she’s been, then pauses, silent. Is it worth upsetting the balance of ignorant comfort? Then her arms slide through his to embrace him, burying her face in his chest. With his last drifting thought he wonders if he will remember this moment, or if it will be drowned in the sea of sleep.
Then the lid of waking claps shut and he is lost to the other world.
James Gilmore is a writer and filmmaker with a passion for very short flash fiction. He lives in Los Angeles with his lovely wife and daughter.
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