The steam condenses on the window from the coffee pot sitting by the sink. The dark, hot, kick is ready for me to take a big swig and start my day. I wheel out of bed and cross to the tiny kitchen. This miniscule studio is all I can afford on a freelance writer’s salary. But, I can feel something about to happen.
You step out of the bathroom, still in that lovely lace thing you wore to bed, “Save me a cup, and put some milk in it please.” Then you’re gone, I can hear the tooth brush going.
Two cups are retrieved from the rack above the cupboard. They are poured hot, with some milk added to one. When I turn around you are already at the table. A big bright smile and a kiss on the nose. A question, “What are you writing about today?”
“I thought I’d start with how I stare at you when you sleep. How I spent hours watching your mouth contort into zillions of different smiles.” I answer.
“You look at me when I sleep? That’s kind of creepy if you ask me,” you retort. “I’m not really sure I like that!” your voice grows a couple of decibels.
“Calm down, it’s nothing like that, I stay on my side of the bed, I don’t touch you, I keep my hands to myself.” I reach for your hand and you let me take it hesitantly.
“I’ll get dressed, we’ll go out for a while, maybe hit that pastry shop around the corner.” you query. “Can I make it up to you? It’ll be my treat.”
Now we’re out on the street where the big buildings reflect the sun. Maybe it will add some heat to the chilly day. You pull your hand from mine and rush ahead to the newsstand. You put you arms around a man’s neck and you give him a kiss on the mouth. I stop and I stand and I stare.
I walk slowly towards you and this guy, my hands were balling into fists. I want so badly to confront you, but I see the look on your face, so I unclench and walk silently by. As I turn the corner towards the pastry shop, I find I am still mad as hell. I don’t know who I am more angry with, him for putting his lips on you, you for letting him, or me for looking like a fool. I don’t expect to ever see you again.
I’m wrong about you again because here you are at my table. What’s more, he’s with you. “I knew I’d find you here,” you smile wryly. “This is my husband, Allan. He’s a big wig at a major publishing house, I told him what a great writer you are.”
A few seconds pass, as I mull over what to do. We three exchange furtive glances. I stand and reach out my hand, which Allan grasps and pumps. “Pleased to meet you,” he says. “I’ve been doing some homework, I see a lot of talent and promise. I’ll be in touch to set up some meetings”
He kisses you on the cheek and heads for the door. You move to sit down. I wave you off as I stand and hand you the check.