“Home before midnight?” he said. “I’m honored.”
His voice rolled like gravel beneath the tires of her BMW. She stood on his side of the bed and ran her hand along his damp pillow, avoiding her husband’s wet hair from his recent shower. He stirred awake and looked for her in the darkness.
Beatrice flipped on the light and eased down onto her side of the bed. She kicked off her soggy boots, flinging them behind the bedroom door, and peeled her socks off her pruned feet.
“I would have waited up. Could’ve had a late supper—the two of us. Candle light and old Sinatra LPs.”
“Rehearsal ended earlier than Peter guessed,” she said. Sitting in the same bed with her awakened husband baffled her. Robby was someone she passed in the hall on occasion, like two pedestrians that happen to brush against each other on the street.
“Vendors are charging an arm and a leg for a good dog,” she spat. It sounded artificial, trite.
“S’pose they are,” he said. He uncurled from the twisted sheets and sat up in bed. “Break your diet?”
Her eyes drifted about the bedroom, studying the king-sized bed with white canopy, the matching dresser and wardrobe, her silver vanity and the closet. Mirrors bolted to the closet doors made no angle safe from voyeurism. None of the components matched, all disconnected from the energy of her bedroom. A sour odor of tea-rose perfume nipped her nose.
“No. I was going to get one. It’s been years since I clogged my arteries with a pork popsicle.”
He laid out without a shirt. She looked over his chest, his defined pecs and flat belly. A silver carpet spread across his chest to his shoulders and petered out into a single trail down into his boxers. She waited for the chemicals to buzz and fire in her body—and waited.
“Peter would have gone bat crazy if he’d seen you chewing on a dog.”
“I was hoping he’d see me, catch me in my little, pernicious revolution against the G.T.A.H.F.”
“Remind me. G.T.A.H.F?”
“Guidelines To A Healthy Figure. Peter’s such a fascist. On Monday, he weighed us on that antique scale of his. When Melinda got on, he didn’t believe the meter. The nazi measured her up and down. She was in tears the whole day.”
“What happened at the hot dog stand?”
“I ask for one of the proscribed, red menaces. The vendor, who didn’t wear gloves and had hairy hands, put a long wiener into a bun and pointed at the condiments. Damn my mouth watered to taste it.”
She held out the phantom hot dog in front of him.
“I had no cash on me. Who does? It’s all debit cards, and these vendors haven’t hooked up to cyberspace yet.”
She felt his eyes running down her body as she undressed.
“He chucked the dog into the trash. My heart died. I turned to yell at him, but he was already taking another order—chili dog, chips and soda.”
“So no hot dog for poor Beatrice?”
“It’s been so long, I wouldn’t have known what to do with one. I get hung up on patterns. Giving up junk food was torture, all in the name of dancing. After awhile, it became more a disruption to break the pattern, even for pleasure. Know what I mean?”
She slipped off her damp skirt and leggings, unbuttoned her blouse. The closet being too far away, she decided to sleep in only a thin pair of panties. Before turning off the light, she looked at herself in the mirror. Her nipples tingled, and the sensation pulsed through her body.
She watched him in the mirror. He’d buried his eyes.
She climbed into bed and pulled the covers up. She touched the bare flesh of her thigh against Robby. She left it there, waiting. He pulled away as if a spider had bitten him.
Her husband gently snored. She reached down and stroked herself. She didn’t worry about him. He’d already done himself in the shower before bed.
Bio:T. Fox Dunham resides outside of Philadelphia PA—author and historian. He’s published in near 100 international journals and anthologies. He’s a cancer survivor. His friends call him “Fox”, being his totem animal, and his motto is: Wrecking civilization one story at a time. http://www.facebook.com/tfoxdunham