It was 2:34 a.m. and I had just won my eleventy-millionth game of Solitaire on my iPhone. For the record, it’s not cheating to switch between Draw 3 and Draw 1 mid play, it’s game strategy.
I was lying on my side, my back to my bedside table lamp. It was more convincing to be turned away from the light if I had to pretend to be asleep. The dog sprawled in her usual spot on his side of the bed, was all legs and tail. The cat had nestled herself behind my bent knees. I was trapped amongst the animals.
Lucky for me I could hear his diesel engine as he drove down our street. If I did miss that familiar chugging, the dog’s sudden tail drumming when he came in the front door was a give away. Quickly turning off my phone, I laid it on the table just as the cat jumped off the bed. Burrowing down into the blankets, I closed my eyes, feigning sleep as he quietly came into our bedroom.
He tried to still the dog’s wagging tail, I assume to keep her from waking me up and giving away the late hour. I tried to keep my breathing steady, as he walked around the room, changing out of his work clothes. I’d rummage through his pants pockets later. I had found interesting tidbits there before.
As he climbed into bed, I did my best imitation of a sleepy rollover, turning away from him. On cue, he spooned up against my backside, groping me where he could find a handhold. Despite the urge to elbow him in the face, I didn’t react. I only had to wait a few minutes to hear his snoring. Opening one eye, I laid still for a little longer to confirm he was asleep. Easing out of bed, I tiptoed around to his side of the bed, turning off his clock alarms.
A quick visit to the bathroom, I emptied the toilet paper roll of all the tissue save two squares. I put the extra rolls back into the closet. He wouldn’t notice until it was too late. I’d time it so I’d be in the kitchen and out of hearing range, unable to make out his calls for help.
From the bathroom I went into the kitchen, unplugging the coffeemaker. I was a tea drinker, I wouldn’t miss the morning caffeine like he would. Opening the refrigerator, I pulled out the orange juice jug, downing what little remained. Rinsing out the container, I turned to the milk bottle. I took a travel jug from the cabinet, filling it with what milk was left then hid it behind the salad dressing. I put the empty milk bottle in the front of fridge.
Down the hall I went into the laundry room, taking his only two clean pair of work pants off the rack. Along with a few towels and T-shirts, I put them all into the washer, and started a cycle.
All my preparations only took about twenty minutes, giving me plenty of time to go back to bed for several hours as if nothing was wrong.
I was at the kitchen table, enjoying the morning paper and my second cup of tea, when he rushed into the room holding his wet pants, already late leaving the house. I simply looked at him, lifting one eyebrow, then went back to reading my paper.
The next time he came in the room, he was wearing an old pair of pants, a size too small. Rummaging through the cupboard looking for a mug, he turned to the coffeemaker, taking the empty carafe off its base, only then noticing the plug lying on the counter.
I could feel him looking at me again. I took a sip of tea and turned the page I was reading. Thumping the mug down on the counter top he went to the fridge looking for something to drink only to find no juice or milk. Standing in the kitchen with his hands on his hips, his back to me, he finally stomped down the hall to our bedroom.
The house shook from him slamming drawers and the closet door, throwing things around the room looking for his car keys. My cup rattled in its saucer as he stomped back to the kitchen. As he rounded the counter, I held up his keys, still looking down at my newspaper. Snatching them out of my hand, he finally broke the silence.
“So, this is how it’s going to be,” he demanded. “Are you ever going to talk to me again, or are you going to continue this passive aggressive assault?”
Turning to look at him, I pulled a ziplock bag out of my robe pocket. Inside, neatly folded, were a pair of women’s lacy underwear, clearly not my size. Lying the bag on the table top, I slid them toward him.
Looking directly at him, jaws clinched, I blinked several times, then turned back to my paper. I hoped that gave him his answer.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Eric Limer challenged me with “Write something where the main character interacts with at least one other person, but never actually speaks. ” and I challenged Lance with “‘Apart from the pleasures of coffee and chocolate, what I most enjoyed was appearing to be someone else.’ – Umberto Eco”