Leaving

Baker’s Pick
Cheryl Diane Kidder


Feet in the light and shadows
Photo Credit: Silver Starre

The sun came in sharply against the heavy curtains of Ramada room 615. It was a Thursday morning and the maids weren’t quite up and about yet. There were only a few guests during the week so the maids took their time pulling out the clean sheets, folding them, pulling out the clean towels, folding and putting them into neat white stacks on their carts. The couple in room 615 hadn’t slept all night. But they’d never left the bed.

“What time is it?” He had never stopped watching her.

“Ten, ten-thirty, I’m not sure.” She leaned up on one elbow, “You need to get going?”

He turned toward her and grunted no and pulled her closer. He let the smell of her skin envelope him, pulled the sheet around them in a protective gesture.

“When do you need to go?” she asked him, speaking softly, watching his closed eyes. She wanted him to tell her he would never leave.

He didn’t want to answer. He didn’t want to leave. “Sometime,” he said quietly. There was nothing in the room but the two of them, no day outside, no night passed.

She lay back down. Their pillows were overlapping. The sheets were tangled. The bedspread was somewhere on the floor. She had no idea where any of her clothes were.

“Where are the kids?” She didn’t want to know but thought they might be on his mind.

“With the sitter.” He opened his eyes and looked at her. She’d closed her eyes by then, only imagining his face next to her. “Are you hungry?” he asked her.

She opened her eyes. “Kinda.” She smiled at him. “You?”

“To eat I’d have to get out of bed.” He closed his eyes again. There was a heat in the room, under the sheet. He hooked his leg around hers, their ankles entwined.

“What do you have to do today?” she asked him, smiling at the motion of his hips on her, answering back, meeting him under the sheet.

“Work, always work. Go home, then work again.” He made a face at the thought.

“Work is so bad?” She laid one hand on his arm, encouraging him.

“We get a lot of jerks. You just have to deal with people all day long.”

“You need a desk job.”

“I’m not cut out for a desk job.” He let her lead him.

“Have you ever tried it?” She gently nudged his arm onto her hip.

“I couldn’t be cooped up for eight hours. It would drive me nuts.”

“I’d hate to be on my feet for eight hours,” she told him. There was a pause. She listened to his breathing. Her head was just below his shoulder. If she blinked now, her lashes would brush his chest. She wanted to always stay within the sound of his heart beating.

They were like statues in the bed. They were like children in the bed.

“What will she be doing?” she whispered into his chest, not sure he would hear her.

“I really don’t know.” He opened his eyes.

She looked away.

“Do you want me to find out?”

She laughed, “No.” Her breath made a warm spot on his chest and he moved against her.

“Because I will if you want me to.”

“No, no. Not at all.”

He pulled back from her and looked at her. “She’ll wonder where I was last night. And this morning. She won’t ask, but she’ll wonder about it.”

“She won’t talk to you about it?” Her hands had gone silent.

“We don’t talk.”

“Never?”

“Never.” He thought about it. “Only about the kids.” He closed his eyes again and put his hands back on her. “What will you do today?”

“No work.”

“No work for you.” He grabbed her ass and pushed into her ever so slightly.

“No work for me. I’ll be bored. I’ll wonder when you get out of work. I’ll wonder what you’re doing, I’ll wonder who you’re talking to, who you’re seeing, if you’re laughing, if you’re sad.”

“I won’t be happy, much,” he said, rocking forward and back, stroking her back.

“I will be happy for a little while. After I leave here I will be very happy. I will forget everything except that I was here. This will be my only reality.”

He stopped rocking, left his hand paused over her back and looked at her. “This is my only reality.”

She can hear the maids outside their room speaking in Spanish but she knows she’s put the “Do Not Disturb” sign out so they won’t knock at the door. The heavy drapes are keeping the light out of the room and the A/C purrs quietly. The room is shadows around them.

“What time is it now?” he asks her, his hands moving across her back, down to her ass again, pulling her closer.

“About noon I’d guess.” She groaned a little, not sure what he wanted, not caring.

“I should get going.”

She opened her legs one last time. He pulled her on top of him, her hair in his face.

He won’t close his eyes any more. He’s getting ready to leave. He hasn’t moved a muscle but she knows he’s getting ready in his head to leave. He’s thinking about where he left his jeans and that his shoes might be in the bathroom. He won’t look at the wine glasses on the table when he picks up his keys to go, but she will sit up in bed a little just to watch him get ready. He won’t look at her again until he’s completely dressed, keys in hand, shoes tied, jacket on. Then he’ll sit on the edge of the bed and take her hand. The room will still be in unnatural shadows around them even though it’s no longer morning.

It was noon and nothing had been decided.

pencil

Cheryl Diane Kidder has a B.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Her work, nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, has appeared or is forthcoming in: CutThroat Magazine, Weber—The Contemporary West, Pembroke Magazine, Able Muse, decomP Magazine, Tinge Magazine, Brevity Magazine, Brain,Child, Identity Theory, In Posse Review, and elsewhere. For a full listing see: Truewest. Email: chekid[at]hotmail.com

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