Thursday Night [a character sketch]

[9 May 2019]

He lies on his back.
The curtains are almost closed and the moon is dark but light from the old streetlamp casts flickering fingers on the bedsheets.
There’s a rustling sound from the kitchen. The fridge door opens and closes. The tap turns on and off.
Stale sweat and the scent of cheap Chinese food from the shop on the corner linger in the air like guests who have long outstayed their welcome.
Footstep in the hallway.
He turns on his side, facing the wall.
The door opens. Dim light from the hallway spills in.
He closes his eyes. He holds his breath.
He hears him, soft footsteps on creaking floorboards. He always forgets to avoid the third plank.  
He feels him, standing next to the bed, looking at him. Breathing.
He forgot to brush his teeth again.
His lungs start to burn and he lets the air out, sighing just loud enough so that he knows he’s still awake.
He stays there a minute longer and then gets in bed next to him, back to back, facing the other wall.
Sandalwood and musk and aloe vera settle into the sheets, wrapping him in their warm familiarity.
He holds his breath.
An old junker drives by. Paints their moving shadows on the wall. Someone laughs across the street.
It’s cold.
He hears him sigh, feels him shift, and then silence.
He’s awake, too, I guess.
He lies there; he lies there.
Breathe in. Deep breath. Hold it. One. Two. Three. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Hold it. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
And then, still facing the wall, he breathes again and forgives him and slowly he moves back his leg and
Their toes touch.

7 responses to “Thursday Night [a character sketch]”

  1. kristianw84 avatar

    This is brilliantly written. You painted the picture so perfectly! I could envision it!!

    1. Nathan AM Smith avatar

      Thank you so much!! 🙂

  2. N.Z. Robotewske avatar

    “moves back his leg and 
Their toes touch.”
    Brilliant! Been there before…sweet dreams. 🧚‍♀️

    1. Nathan AM Smith avatar

      Thank you 🙂 It is a sublime moment 🙂

  3. orkidedatter avatar

    Wow, I could feel every touch in this story🦋you write magic, thank you.

    1. Nathan AM Smith avatar

      Thank you! As do you 🙂

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