Stand

 

I snuggled back down under the purple satin duvet. The bed was warm and I could feel myself drifting off into sleep once more. Images from last night entered my mind and I clung to them like a survivor to driftwood from a shipwreck.  There was a slight movement beside me and the bed creaked. I had to fight hard not to wake up. I didn’t want this morning to come and hoped it would pass.

An alarm rang. The loud noise shattered my dozing and brought me half awake. A low moaning sound came from under the pillow next to mine. Then a hairy arm reached out and fumbled for the flashing mobile phone. Resting on my elbow, I watched the hand grab the phone and the fingers push the buttons.  

The alarm was cut off mid-beep, inviting the world of sleep back again. I reached for him with my other hand. His bare shoulder was hot. My fingers dropped and wrapped around his hand. We rolled over together and lay in each other’s’ arms.

‘I can’t stay,’ he whispered into my ear.

I pressed my face to his chest and traced patterns on his skin.

‘Who is going to know?’ I breathed.

He kissed my head. ‘No one, but I mustn’t be late.’

I turned my face up to his and we kissed.

‘Just a few more minutes,’ I breathed.

He nuzzled into my blonde hair and we settled back down. An eternity didn’t pass, before he withdrew. I reached for him, my fingers slipping across cooling satin. He was gone. Keeping my eyes shut, I listened to him pad to the bathroom and use the toilet. He washed his hands, then turned on the shower.

‘Are you going to start breakfast?’ he called.

I moaned and opened my eyes. The ceiling greeted me with the sun’s glow across the cream paint. I started to get up, but half of me hoped that my body wouldn’t respond.  My feet hit the rug however, and I stood up automatically. Then almost against my will I was moving to the door.

I used the other bathroom and peered into the mirror. My skin was flushed, a sleepy expression stared back at me. I thought about making myself up, but then reasoned there was no point. Going back, I put on my dressing gowned and slippers. I could still hear the shower and him splashing around. I went out again, downstairs and into the kitchen.

I switched the radio on to drown out the silence. Clicking the kettle, I make myself some tea. Then to keep my mind busy, I dug half a loaf out of the bread bin and checked it for mould. I put four slices into the toaster. Then turned to the fridge and got out the milk and eggs. I switched on the already programmed coffee machine and waited.

The shower stopped. I made breakfast and tried to convince myself that this was still a dream. Really, we were lying in bed together, making love and letting the world carry on without us. I set the plates on the table and raided the drying rack for cutlery.

I head his footsteps on the stairs. My eyes flickered up as he came in. He was dressed in his clothes from the night before, black suit and matching tie. I noticed his hair was still wet.

He sat down. I handed him a knife and fork, then passed the salt and pepper over.

‘Smells good,’ he said.

‘I’m not much of a cook,’ I replied.

He shrugged, ‘but you do a mean scrambled eggs on toast.’

I smiled and got him a glass of organic orange juice. He nodded his thanks and I sat down in the opposite chair. Watching him eat made me feel warm inside. He liked using his fingers to make small sandwiches with the toast and eggs.

‘You not eating?’ he asked. 

I shook my head. The coffee pot clicked. I got up and made him a strong, black coffee. He carried on eating behind me, nosily crunching on burnt toast.

‘You should do. Aren’t you going to work today?’

‘Later, lunchtime-ish,’ I answered.

I placed his coffee beside the glass of orange juice, then took my seat. He carried on eating till his plate was clean, drinking the juice in-between. Then he started on the coffee. My own cup of tea was cooling next to me. I picked it up and took a sip, but it tasted bitter.

‘I should go…’ he said and stood up. ‘Come see me off?’

I nodded. Got up and we walked into the hallway. I unlocked and opened the front door. We stood together. The silence grew then he kissed my forehead.

‘Bye,’ he said gently and stepped outside.

 He walked down the pathway, though the gate and into his company car. Without looking back he got inside. I went to close the door as the engine started, but then I saw him opening the glove compartment. Even though I knew what was coming, the breath still caught in my throat and my heart skipped a beat. He pulled out a small box and removed a gold wedding ring.

    Slamming the door shut, I rushed back into the kitchen. I threw my breakfast away and dumped everything into the sink. I hated eggs, coffee, orange juice and her. I didn’t understand why! If two people fall in love shouldn’t they be together? I rested against the kitchen counter and wiped the tears away. I felt their acid sting in my mouth all the same. I went back upstairs and got into bed. I hugged the pillow he had slept on and cried hard. I prayed for him to come back and to stay within me. I prayed for a love that could never be, a future never destined and a heart that couldn’t be broken.

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