In My Room Part 2
I wake with a start. Time has drifted and I haven’t noticed, sleep claiming me in the midst of my contemplation of the artwork on my ceiling. The mobile lies silent by my side, nothing has changed.
I don’t want to look at the cuckoo clock or know how much time has elapsed since I last checked, but the cuckoo defeats me, popping out its little body to happily chirp the hour. I consider throwing my mobile at it, but don’t.
Instead I turn over and bury my face in the pillow, trying to stop the tears that threaten to start flowing. Steven has said he loved me, wanted to be with me. But it has always been his wife he has gone home to every night, usually after he’s been with me. I feel such a fool.
The mobile suddenly bursts into life. I stare at it, daring to hope for a moment, but the caller ID tells me it’s not the call I’m waiting for. I debate answering it then decide I might as well. It’s Kevin, wanting to know if I can come to the pub for a beer. I tell him yes. Anything is preferable to the silence that surrounds me here.
The pub is crowded and Kevin is at the bar, drink in hand. He’s in the middle of a group of guys. I join them; order a beer of my own, down it in one go, then order another. After I’ve downed that I start to feel slightly better and turn towards Kevin, waving a greeting to the guys in the group I know.
Kevin is regarding me with a look of sympathy.
“Bad day, Matt?”
I just nod. He doesn’t know about Steven. No one does.
“Good thing I called then, a few more bevies will set you right.”
I agree with him and order another one. I’m just getting into that one when I feel someone pushing in to stand next to me. It’s one of the guys I’d seen hovering at the edge of the crowd.
“Name’s Bob. Overheard you telling Kevin about your day.”
“I’ve had better.”
“Tell you what, Matt, I’ll buy you the next drink and we can chat. Then, if you like you can come to my place and you can tell me all about it.”
I look at him, considering. He’s not bad looking, mid 40’s, nicely dressed in a business suit and tie. But, am I that desperate for company? The beers I downed so quickly are starting to make me feel a bit queasy and I suddenly decide that whatever I want, more alcohol and a consolation fuck isn’t it.
“Thanks for the offer, but I think I’ll just call it a night.”
Bob looks disappointed, which bolsters my confidence a bit. But his eyes are already sweeping the pub for other prospects.
The night air is crisp and cold as I head back home, the mobile I’d put in my jeans pocket has remained silent. A few meters from my apartment I realise someone is sitting, hunched over, on my front step, staring at the pavement. Another couple of steps bring me in front of the figure. Steven looks up at me. His face is drawn, eyes hallow.
“I...I told her. She ….” His voice trails off and he shakes his head, then he holds up his mobile. “I tried to ring but your number was engaged, then my battery went flat.”
I don’t say anything, just lean down to take his free hand in mine and pull him to his feet. I open the door with my key and lead him inside.
My boyfriend is back.