He doesn’t sleep well. An hour or two at a time. In between cycles he gets up to smoke or pee. He always wakes me up when he moves, though I try not to make it obvious. I just lie there when he comes back to bed with my eyes closed. He doesn’t seduce me anymore, caress me, kiss me, say sweet things. He just spoons me a bit then pulls my panties aside and slides himself into me. After a few months of me asking him to take his time with me, he started sleeping in his office. Why does he live with me if he sleeps in his office?
6:30 a.m. It is still dark out. I didn’t close one blind last night by my bed. I hear the sea hissing over the rocks outside, the blinds lifting in the living room, the wind battering the chairs on the front-porch deck. I hear him setting out plates in the kitchen, cutting bread for toast. I hear the percolator bubbling with fresh coffee—I can smell the aroma sneak under my bedroom door. I rise, snap my bra closed (which I accidently forgot to take off after I opened it when I lay down last night).
We are living through a pandemic. A global crisis called COVID-19, caused from a coronavirus. Five million, six hundred thousand people are infected. Three hundred and sixty thousand deaths. Jonathan and I are lucky we were here in Cáscara when the pandemic hit and spread over the Earth like air through a shrub forest, the shrubs whipping about, like what I see out the window as dawn ratchets up the light. In Orotina, where all my family and friends live, everything is in lockdown. Here we are able to walk about the hilly seaside, and drive the scenic sea-side route into town.
I stumble by Jonathan’s office where his fold out arm chair is yet covered in rumpled sheets, his floor strewn with clothes, and stride to the kitchen where my smiling, still handsome, conniving husband is eating his cereal, my toast brown upon a plate (he always gets my toast wrong, like he doesn’t know me), my tea steaming from my once favorite cup.
Jonathan says “good morning,” asks how I slept, kisses me, presses his waning morning hardon into my vee, then goes to his office to write.
I call my brother and our son, to check in on them.
I wash the dishes (because he never does), go to my bedroom, dress, brush my teeth, and exit where that aged-Adonis, rogue of a man is waiting by the front door with the car keys in his rubber-gloved hand, the paper mask covering his perfectly shaped lips.
Stephen Page is part Apache and part Shawnee. He was born in Detroit. He is the author of four books of poetry; several stories, essays, and literary criticisms. He holds degrees from Columbia University and Bennington College. He is the recipient of The Jess Cloud Memorial Prize, a Writer-in-Residence from the Montana Artists Refuge, a Full Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, an Imagination Grant from Cleveland State University, a First Place Prize in Poetry from Bravura Magazine, and an Arvon Foundation Ltd. Grant.