Jeremiah's School of Levitation


Friday, January 13, 2006

Not Tonight

They returned too late, apparently.

At the party, the wine flowed, then the music got snaky and the voices began to warp and warble. In the faces, they saw all sorts of smiles--smiles faked, smiles growing tired, smiles genuine, smiles infectious, smiles graceful and apropos, and smiles that were turning into something else. By the time the last wine bottle exhaled, the place was clearing, creaky, awkward adults who'd said too much to each other and probably had hugged so and so much longer than they should have. Wives gathered coats and husbands shook hands, made gestures, and said things about the playoffs. And, into the night, the slimy wet night. The sidewalk is so slick that it looks like a snail crawled over the whole neighborhood, she said. A giant snail. Got any salt? he said, and she laughed, and though it sounded like the rehearsed laughs from the party, he still thought that the night would end with lovemaking, a frantic twist in the mess of sheets.

But, they returned too late, and the babysitter had to be driven home and the kids, who had fallen asleep in the adult beds, had to go back in their beds, and the dog needed to go out. Hazy light in the refrigerator as he reached for the water. A beer winks at him. No more alcohol, he says, no more. Too much of that already.

Stinging eyes as they silently slide into bed, tired girl and restless guy. He hears the gentle wheeze of her inhalations. He lays there listening to her for a bit, then he gets up, angles himself downstairs to the kitchen. Hazy eyes looking in the refrigerator. He reaches for the water again.

This time, though, he takes the beer.
Jeremiah, 9:28 AM

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