He had called me that afternoon to let me know he’d be back in town for the night. His flight landed at Logan at 5:30 pm. But now, it was already time for the Late Late show. I checked the flight status online. ‘Arrived.’ I turned off the television and went to the bedroom. I had text him just once, no response. I slipped off the black silk robe that I ran out to buy right after he called me. I hadn’t worn it all night, though.
I had started the evening in a navy blue Ralph Lauren wrap dress, not new, just never worn, and strappy sandals that hurt my feet. I didn’t have time for a pedicure so I painted my nails myself, Love Story, the color was called. Not hardly. The dress had been in my closet since the last time he was in town. I never wore it. I wanted to be sure I had a great outfit in case he surprised me one of these times.
My friends at work were always talking on Monday mornings about all the trendy restaurants they had tried over the weekend with their boyfriends. Mine had a very demanding job though, not like their boyfriends, which required him to take clients out a lot. So he was busy most nights and when he was available it was usually after dinner hour.
But tonight his flight landed at 5:30 pm, so there was plenty of time to make a reservation and head downtown. Maybe we should take a rideshare, in case after dinner we go out to that club with the live music upstairs and end up drinking too much. And if I’m going to be dancing, I’m going to have to be drinking too much. I smiled to myself.
I googled the menu for the sushi restaurant, I knew just what I was going to have, the black cod fish. I always researched the menu before a date to decide what I was going to have. Dates are so nerve wracking and there are a lot of things to consider before ordering, such as, will this make me bloat, will this get stuck in my teeth, is this too expensive, is this too cheap, is this really chewy, does this require me to use my hands, will this make my breath bad, etc.
But dinner hour came and went so I made myself a tuna fish sandwich, not exactly black cod fish, but it was fine. I slipped my dress off and returned it to it’s cushioned hanger so it wouldn’t get wrinkled. Next time, I told it reassuringly.
After that I put on a sweater and leggings, cute and casual, much more my style anyway. Maybe he would want to take the dog for a walk, or watch a movie on the couch. I got that anxious feeling in my belly waiting for my phone to ping with his text as I got out extra pillows and blankets for the couch.
I remembered when a boy would come over in high school to watch a movie, both too nervous to actually watch it. My leg accidentally grazing his leg under a blanket, sending an electric charge up my spine, hands fumbling in the popcorn bowl, trying to get the nerve to make a move before the credits rolled. I got the kernels, popcorn oil and bowl out of the cabinet.
And when it became too late for that, I thought a romantic late night rendezvous would be exciting. And that’s when I put on the robe, lit the candles and dimmed the lights. I had visions of frenzied kissing while passionately fumbling to get each other’s clothes off. Two lovers reunited. But I guess that’s only in the movies.
After the Late Late Show I blew out the lavender and vanilla candles in the bedroom and put on my shorts and an old Red Sox t-shirt. I took the last sip of Malbec from my glass and put it in the sink, and put the other back in the cupboard. I switched off the dimmed lights and went to bed.
I woke up some time later to a key jangling in the lock. Startled at first, then I remembered I told him where the spare key was. I rolled away from the door so he wouldn’t see my now makeup-less face in the light. I pretended I was asleep, wondering what kind of excuses he would make, or would he tell me how much he missed me since the last time and beg me to forgive him for being so late.
He kicked off his shoes in the kitchen before stumbling into the bathroom to relieve himself. I had bought him a toothbrush but he never used it. At least not at night, and he was always gone in the morning before I woke up so I’m not sure if he used it then either. Maybe.
He undid his belt and let his pants fall to the floor with a thud. He slid between the sheets behind me. The smell of stale cigarettes and old booze took the place of the sweet vanilla candles long blown out. His cold hand moved up my thigh. He slipped off my shorts, but not my t-shirt. Then he had sex with me. I lay there, still on my side staring out the window at the night sky, it was nearly dawn. It wasn’t until I tasted the saline that I knew I was crying. Within minutes it was over and he rolled over with a groan. I pretended I was asleep so he wouldn’t ask me if I enjoyed it, and I wouldn’t have to lie. But he didn’t ask, and I didn't lie. And within moments the rhonchorous snores only drunken sleep can produce filled the room.
Unable to sleep, I carefully slid out of the bed and twisted the bathroom handle without a sound. He didn’t flinch. I slipped the black robe back on and wiped the tears from my eyes. Leaning into the mirror I looked at myself, and applied my lipstick.