Fruitless Love

2631 Words11 Pages
Fruitless Love I waited for Bob to head out for his three o'clock before I packed up my things and left the office. I didn't have to. Bob isn't my boss, he's just the guy who sits in the next cubicle. And it's not like he would have said anything, or even thought anything. It was just one of those days when I felt like leaving without anybody noticing. I smoked a whole cigarette walking from the office to the shuttle stop two blocks away. I walk slowly now, even when I feel like I'm rushing. The shuttle was parked at the stop when I got there. The driver had run inside the McDonald's to use the bathroom. I sat down on one of those sideways seats near the front and I smiled at the young woman sitting across from me. We sat there awkwardly facing each other for several minutes while the bus driver did his thing in the McDonald's. I had a newspaper in my briefcase. It was a quarter to four when I got home and for a good five-some minutes I stood at the dining room table trying to decide what to do next. Laura would be home in an hour or so. That's why I took off early. To have an hour or so. But I wasn't sure what to do with it. I took a beer from the fridge and started a bath. I was still in a towel, shaving, when Laura came home. I heard her call my name down the hallway. She was winded. I heard packages. “I'm in here,” I said. My voice sounded funny, high. I drew the razor up toward my chin. “Are we late?” she asked. “I had to stop at the supermarket first. I got us a cake to bring.” “Renee said not to bring anything.” She walked into the bedroom, struggling to undo her top. “Are we late? I didn't even see what time it is.” “What kind of cake?” I asked. “Did she call? I left a message on her machine. I said we might be late.” “We're fine,” I said. I rinsed my face and leaned in close to the mirror to see if I'd missed anything. I couldn't remember if I'd brushed my teeth. Laura walked up behind me. She reached around and pinched one of my nipples. “Hello, you,” she said.
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