"I love you." he said, to her as he leaned back against the headboard of the bed, in the near total darkness of the moonless night.
She was silent...pretending to be asleep. If there was one thing in the whole world that she was sure of, it was that he loved her.
She wanted to speak, but knew that it would only be the start of a lengthy discussion. So, she remained silent, hoping he would go back to sleep.
"I know you're awake." he said.
She remained silent, not falling for his bluff.
She heard him pick up a glass from the side table and smelled the familiar aromatic scent of gin.
When he had finished, he put down the glass and turned to face her in bed. Her back was towards him.
He moved closer, pressing his body against hers and placing his hand on her waist.
Her eyes were open now.
His hand slid down from her waist to the curve of her hip and around her familiar ass. He pulled her towards him.
"Say something." he said, in her ear.
"No..." she said, rolling over onto her back and moving away from him.
"What is there to say?"
"Tell me...are you coming back?"
"I don't know." she lied.
"You know." he said. She did know. She knew that she was leaving him tomorrow, or today given the time. She just wanted to leave without the usual scene; the yelling at the airport. So she lied. Once she was a thousand miles away, she would tell him.
"Do you love me?" he asked. She bit her lip, so wanting to say "no"; but again lied.
"I don't know."
"You do know." he said, getting angry.
"Stop the bullshit and just tell me."
"No, I don't..." she repeated. He threw back the covers and walked down the hall into the kitchen. She heard the rattle of bottles, as he poured himself another drink.
"That'll help." she said to herself. She lay there in bed, eyes open staring into the darkness. She thought about her life. She was fifty- nine...with old age staring her in the face. And she had never made a decision about her own life. She always allowed everyone else to make the decisions. Never the driver; always the passenger. A leaf in the stream; carried along on the current.
She had no more time to waste.
He was content to spend the rest of his life in a lawn chair, drinking himself to death. She didn't want to waste what was left of her life watching him do it. At day break, she finished packing; leaving behind all the meaningless things that were once so important. She would have left with just the clothes on her back if she had to.
He drove her to the airport. They kissed, as if this was not a final parting and then she walked to the plane, knowing that part of her life was over.
Born Astoria, Queens
Raised in the picture perfect suburban Long Island town of Massapeaqua, NY.
Left home at 18
Had a daughter by 20.
Went to college at Adelphi University, Garden City NY. Earned a BA, with a major in English.
Wrote a collection of short stories…
Left a doomed marriage….and found happiness.