I still love this one! The flow of it is so spot on & the romance and urgency of it are great! More tiny stories could explore this idea of ‘inappropriate places’ in comedic or tragic ways. I.e. ‘He wanted to X but he was in the Y so he Z’d’ :)
The clinking of bottles in the fridge door as you open it, and the thud as it closes again. Every morning. You pour yourself a glass of milk and the spoon tinkers in the cereal bowl as you drop it in. You don’t notice. Coffee rings on the tabletop from when your wife left this morning. You (half-asleep) heard the wheels spin when she drove away. Circles are her memory at breakfast, circles are what she left riding on. Your wristwatch ticks under your sleeve — slower when you are paying attention and silent when you are not. You check the time. 7am. The hour hand has a full cycle to go before you’ll be home again. Clink-thud-tinker-tick-tick-tick. The kind of soundtrack a rap artist would pay a lot of money for.
You hammer away at your keyboard till lunchtime. Fancy yourself a pianist with your cubicle neighbour’s tapping pencil as a metronome. You write all the way to the bottom of the page and start on the next one. You write all the way to the end of the line and barely notice the blinking cursor move down. Sixty years earlier you would have heard the ring of a dead-end on a typewriter. You would have had to slide back to move forward again. You don’t notice now. And who knows what will be left to note sixty years later. You write mechanical instructions for a living. You tell people how to put things together. The sewing machines will be different by the time you retire, and fashion will have come around again to the slim lapels sitting against your chest.
You don’t hit a string of green lights on the way home. You hit a sporadic pattern that bounces from red to green to yellow to red again. The radio reports traffic every 10 minutes until you roll into Hanover Crescent. You stop at house number 23 without looking to check the numbers because you know they go up to 56 before starting at 1 again across the street. You walk up the porch steps to the door. Then back again because you’ve forgotten the flowers in your car. You almost ring the doorbell like a visitor the second time. You feel foolish as you reach for your keys. They jingle. You notice. You think of your father coming home from work in the evenings when you were a boy and how his keys would announce his arrival.
The door creaks when you open it and the lock clicks into place behind you. Your wife is spinning a salad in the kitchen. You tell her “Happy Anniversary” like last year and “I’m sorry I missed you this morning”. She says the flowers are lovely and you put them in a vase. One by one till you’ve filled the circumference. At dinner you reach across the table and hold her hand. “Happy Anniversary” she says while your thumb is tracing ovals obliviously over her knuckles. A nervous habit. She points out that you did it for the first time when you were teenagers at the amusement park before getting on the Ferris Wheel, the rollercoaster, the rotating teacups…before everything.
She passes you her reading glasses to put on the nightstand. The round frames are out of style, but she likes them. She is reading H.G. Wells. Two books at a time. The Wheels of Chance on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and The Time Machine on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Sunday nights are for movies. You turn off the reading lamp and kiss her good night. Pull the covers over and try not to notice the wall-clock. It is always loudest at bedtime. You close your eyes, and the sleep stages line themselves up along the hours, waiting for your arrival. And just before you go, you think to yourself, “Tomorrow is a NEW day” rather than another.