I watch him while he sleeps. It’s the only time that he is mine, all mine. When there’s no phone, no ringing, no meetings, no other people involved. It’s just him and I.
He snuffles a bit and turns over, bringing the blanket underneath his chin. I stroke his face gently, careful not to wake him up. I definitely don’t want that to happen. Then it will immediately be jumping onto the devices, taking the car out to go to the office, and I won’t see him until later, much too late for me.
I want to be with him always.
For now, he’s no one else’s but mine.
I can’t stop him from waking up, though, and after a while he does, blinking groggily and checking the time on his phone. I pretend to be waking up as well.
“Good morning, cupcake,” he kisses me on the nose and stumbles off to the bathroom. Well, it has begun. The day that snatches my darling away.
After he’s gone, I lay in bed staring at the ceiling. There’s nothing I really want to do anymore. There’s nowhere that I need to be. No one that needs me. So I wait, I wait for him to come back, wait until he’s tired and then we’ll be in bed together.
It is the only thing that gets me through the day.
I eat lunch alone. Lunch is an apple. I’m not very hungry. I haven’t burnt that many calories today while lounging in bed.
I cook dinner. We usually order in, but today I’m feeling restless. I cook him a roast, along with some potatoes. A meal for a man. Because that’s who he is. He is a man.
It’s late. I wait for him to come home. The time passes slowly. The phone doesn’t ring. Finally, I hear the car pull up outside, and there he is, my one and only, he’s coming up to the door. Only he’s not alone.
“Cupcake?” He’s calling to me, and I leave my perch by the window to hurry towards the front door.
“Yes dear?,” I say demurely, and come to kiss him on the cheek. “How was your day at work?” Then, not wanting to be rude, “And who is this?”
‘This’ is a short man with thick stubble on his face, whose hair looks like it hasn’t been washed in a month. He wears baggy pants and a tight shirt – the exact opposite of what would suit him best.
“This is the man! Manuel Peters, from college! He was in town and I thought it would be fun to hang out a bit tonight. Home was on the way to the bar. Do you mind, honey?”
Suddenly, he sniffs the air and realizes what I did.
“Oh, did you make dinner?,” he breathes in appreciatively and gives me a one armed hug. I say nothing, for what is there to say? Isn’t it obvious all the hard work I’ve put in? Is he really just going to leave me to go play with his college buddy?
“Let’s eat here and go out after,” he tells Manual, and Manuel nods and says a gruff thanks to me. I don’t want him in the house, but I must be a good wife, I must. It’s the only way I’ll keep him.
Dinner is a quick affair. I don’t eat much. I only made enough food for two.
Him and Manuel crack jokes the whole time and thank me for the meal by seeing who can burp the loudest and the longest. I’m glad to see the back of them when they’re gone.
But as soon as he’s out of the house I only want him back, back in our bed, with his eyes closed, sleeping right next to me.
I wait for him to come home but I must fall asleep before he does because I wake up to my alarm going off and his warm body beside mine.
I silence the soft noise very quickly. I don’t want to wake him up, I don’t want to stir him. I want him to stay sleeping while I look at him, for hours. During the only hours that exist of the day when he is all mine.
His breathing sounds a bit irregular, like his nose might be stuffed. The noise grates on my nerves. There’s nothing I can do about it, but after a while I want to get away. So I get up and go to the kitchen where I make myself a cup of coffee. But then I miss him too much so I put it down and go back to bed, propping my elbow up and resting my chin on my palm in order to get a better view of him.
His alarm goes off too soon, bringing him back to the rest of the world. I give a telltale moan, hoping to keep him in bed a little while longer with my body, and it works. But then it’s over and he’s gone again and I’m left to my own devices.
It’s not safe for me to be left alone. It’s not safe for me to be by myself. I want company, I need company. I debate calling him, but I don’t want to sound needy. I wish he never had to go.
The day passes slowly.
He calls me before he leaves work, telling me he needs to buy some drinks for the office, he lost a bet or something else silly like that. I listen and say of course sweetie, I miss you sweetie, see you whenever, but my insides feel empty like I just swallowed a cleaning agent that dissolves everything it touches.
The sky is dark, and this time I keep myself up late enough to hear him enter. I’m in bed, listening. He rummages in the fridge, looking for leftovers, but we ate it all last night, and tonight I didn’t feel like cooking. He usually forgets about takeout when coming back this late. I picture him looking through the fridge, his brain slightly fuzzy from all the alcohol he is sure to have consumed tonight. He sees the only thing that I know there is ready to eat, a small plate of crispy cookies that I baked earlier. I hear the telltale crunch telling me that I’m right. He shuffles his way to bed, plate of cookies in hand, slamming open the door and then whispering shhh at it as if it is the door’s fault that he is drunk and clumsy.
I wait for him, keeping my eyes closed, pretending to be asleep. He falls down and can’t even bring himself to take off his socks and shoes before he’s snoring.
I remove them lovingly, tucking them underneath the blanket, making sure he’s nice and snug.
The snoring is bothering me again. I don’t want him to be snoring.
I take the pillow. I press down, using force until the snoring stops.
Ah, there. That’s much better.
I go to sleep with a smile.
In the morning, my alarm goes off and I quickly silence it. I turn to look at him.
His eyes are closed, his face is pale. His body is rigid. He looks peaceful.
I’m not stressed about him going to work anymore, and I bring my finger up to slowly stroke it down his face.
Now he will be mine forever.