20 comments

Submitted on 06/01/2020

Categories: Creative Nonfiction Romance

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. 


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20 comments

John k Adams
21:56 Jun 25, 2020

What a gut punch. You start out sadly funny but really take it places most would not. The self-distancing, objective descriptions show us what happened but that she is removed from her own experience. Powerfully sad.

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Sarah Greenwood
22:36 Jun 25, 2020

Thank you John for reading and taking the time to comment. I really need to work on some stories with happy endings ha

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John k Adams
17:01 Jun 26, 2020

There's plenty of room for both. I like a good story, regardless.

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Spider Baby
06:10 Jul 07, 2020

Whoa :<

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Sarah Greenwood
06:43 Jul 07, 2020

Whoa is right ha. Thanks for reading

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Kathleen March
05:28 Jun 18, 2020

Very, very nice. You never let go of the reader. Just a couple things. In one place you spell its with an apostrophe. Do be careful. Also, I would leave off the last paragraph and the lipstick. Let it end with the drunk. Great effort here!

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05:27 Jun 17, 2020

GREAT story Sarah! Loved it! I enjoyed reading your story! Looking forward for more stories from you! Keep writing and have a great day Sarah!(◍•ᴗ•◍)❤ P.S( Thank you for liking my story! I really appreciate it!)

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Noor Ahmed
13:13 Jun 12, 2020

This is amazing! I loved your descriptions and the detail in this story!

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Sarah Greenwood
13:35 Jun 12, 2020

Thank you so much for taking the time to read it! I really appreciate your feedback !

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Steve Stigler
21:22 Jun 09, 2020

I particularly liked the name of the nail polish - nice detail!

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Sarah Greenwood
22:25 Jun 09, 2020

Thanks Steve. And thanks for taking the time to read it. I really appreciate it !

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A. y. R
17:08 Jun 08, 2020

This took a really unexpected dark turn which you executed perfectly! It was a really good build-up to it too, just shattering expectations!

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Sarah Greenwood
18:04 Jun 08, 2020

Thank you so much for reading my story. I'm really appreciate your time and feedback!

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Ugochi Nwauwa
22:12 Jul 27, 2020

Omg that was so sad..at some point I was kind of hoping the guy would apologize or something. But he didn't and that just made it sad. It also had a nice hook, that keeps the reader. I also enjoyed how you emphasized on the levels of disappointment the character felt. I loved it!

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Sarah Greenwood
23:18 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you so much Ugochi !

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Sarah Greenwood
23:18 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you so much Ugochi !

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Emily Nghiem
16:58 Jun 08, 2020

Hi, Sarah: Congratulations on joining and sharing your first story! I can tell from your writing you have a clear picture in your mind of what the scene looks like, especially the focus on the clothes. That may have been overdone, as if telling the audience literally what she is wearing from the outside looking in. But if you are trying to create that distant, detached feel, this needs to be more clear how lonely she is inside, that she is trying to mask or fill that void with material things. Maybe throwing in a hint of why she clings, by r...

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Sarah Greenwood
18:03 Jun 08, 2020

Wow that's great feed back. Thank you for sharing and taking the time to help me. I really appreciate it!

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Vincent Cruz
02:54 Aug 18, 2020

so good... I love the way you present the (familiar) feeling of waiting on someone to call you, or to just show up as you thought would happen. The story made me think about moments in my life when I was left hanging, left waiting, or being disappointed by someone I deeply cared about. I thought you really nailed it with the progression of her disappointment and hope with the way she changed her clothes as the night progressed. I felt crushed along with the character at the end, and felt her denial of the ultimate situation as she put on her...

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Sarah Greenwood
10:34 Aug 18, 2020

Thank you so much for reading Vincent and sharing your thoughts! I appreciate it

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