DEAD SUNDAY AFTERNOONS A PROVIDENCE, RI FICTION BY STEPHEN MORAN
I wait in cold sterile anticipation for Monday, for this day, a rather stale Sunday afternoon in the month of birth, reeks of decay. Indeed, Monday calls, with its promise of five more days of hell, growing old, old, and older. Sunday feels limp and crawls slow and sure towards further nothing, a repeating forgettable day, endless malaise of boredom.
I watch others move, action. I can’t feel, or maybe will not give in to the urge to commit to a single motion, for nothing can be accomplished. The dead power of nothing, Sunday claws with blades of steel, scraping the sides of my veins. Will it ever be different?
Robert sipped at his beer, an attempt at motion, not feeling comfortable with his hands lying limp at his sides. He desired silence instead of motion, but the music throbbed insistent into his ears, all the while he eyed a young blonde talk and talk and talk to an elderly gentleman, the curled ringlets of her hair shaking as she looked around her, a tangled boredom visible in her movements.
Her eyes met his; singed nerves, running down his spine, her eyes locked with his as she traced her fingers over elderly man’s face. He forgot about his hands, which he no longer knew existed, his body entire ceasing to exist. Numb, the feel of her stare crushed into his thoughts. He closed his eyes and still there remained a picture of her eyes, hazel, framed thick and heavy with eyeliner, almost as if she were a circus performer, the heavy color making her look clownish. He breathed a hope outward that her eyes still watched him, prayer, and exhale!
He opened his eyes to those same greedy, heavy hazel eyes, which bit into his skin. Watching her, feeling; the slope of her neck tantalizing and sleek. He could feel velvet of her skin on his fingers. Slow, slow, slow, waiting for time to begin anew, fresh raw emotion digging wounds into his back, he jumped as if from a physical pain. His thoughts remained blinded, the want of his senses alive.
Time stopped, silence broke through, the music blinked out of existence.
“Hi,” she said, from the distance, her fingers full of grey hair, her silken skin touched by the gnarled fingers of age.
“I feel faint,” he said. Air pressed in his lungs, desiring escape, the fair life within him revolting all in one moment with a feeling of light exploding in star shapes, fireworks, as if brazen heaven arrived to taunt him with a wagged finger.
“Soft morning will break the night sky and the sight of her eyes will remain with me,” he whispered to himself.
“Sarah.” Words, clouds, light airy being.
Hazel burned scars on his flesh. Once more he closed his eyes.
Robert woke to the sound of the phone. His ears protested, leading to a general feeling of disgust at being awaked, a feeling which passed as a wave over his body.
“Yes,” he said, glancing at the clock beside his bed, whose red numbers bled harsh light into the darkness. Seven o’clock in the morning.
“No. I’ll be in at nine,” he replied, voice still thick with sleep, tinged with anger at being roused.
“Nine, O’clock.” He repeated, slowly and angrily. He hung up the phone and rolled away from the glare of the alarm clock.
He sensed her near him and saw her standing next to his chair as he looked in the mirror, all of her at once; the thick flesh of her breasts, her thighs pressing against his hand. He ran his palm over her skin, dragging his fingertips slowly, memorizing the feel of her by touch. She leaned in close to him, kissing his ear and whispering.
“I’ve been watching you all night,” she said.
Robert laughed and put his arm around her waist.
“Isn’t that supposed to be my line?” He breathed deep and called to the bartender for another beer. He spun his chair to face her, pulling her between his legs.
“What is your name?” She asked. She pressed herself against him, which caused agony in his midsection. He held her tightly against his jeans, the sight of her exposed skin making his head swim with pleasure.
She smiled and asked him to dance. Without waiting for him to answer, she put her hand in his and escorted Robert towards the back of the room. Observing the others, the girls, talking and flirting and sitting with men, bare skin and smiles, the music provided soundtrack to the panoramic scene. He let himself be led, following Sarah to a small room, which contained black leather recliners and a sparse amount of light. Waiting and studying her as she waited for the next song to begin, he tried to enjoy the moments as time ticked and ticked in his blood. She fluffed her hair and pulled a strap of her bra off her shoulder onto her arm. The music pulsed in his chest and she sauntered towards him, separating his legs with her hands.
“Sit back and enjoy.”
Robert slammed the alarm with his hand, silencing its persistent ringing. He rolled out of bed and made his way towards the bathroom, sleep in his walk. Running the water hot as he could take, he shaved with the warm steam providing comfort. He stepped into the shower and stood motionless under the water, letting it run over his face. Moments passed, which turned into minutes, and he remained under the water, thinking. Then, as if he remembered the business at hand, he grabbed the soap and with a sigh, began to scrub.
Time drifted into the small hours, on and on with Sarah at a table near the stage, talking. She sat next to him, rubbing her hands on his legs, smiling, and her eyes bright and shining. He sipped his beer as she talked and talked, her hands moving, her legs stretched out next to his. A fast dance song blared through the speakers and Sarah exclaimed with delight.
“This is one of my friends; I want to see her dance,” Sarah said as she turned and sat between Robert’s legs. A tall, slim brunette strutted onto the stage and swung round the pole that ran from floor to ceiling.
Sarah moved with the music, her hips pushing back against him. He wrapped his arms around her and crossed his hands below her breasts. He felt dizzy from excitement and tried little to follow the brunette’s movements across the stage. He kissed Sarah on her back and her neck.
“Isn’t she good?” Sarah asked. She kept moving her hips with the music.
“Yes.” He ran his hands over her stomach and traced over her breasts with his fingertips.
“Don’t get too frisky now,” she said her voice light and airy, the sound of which tickled his spine once more.
He moaned as she rubbed against his erection, his hands getting closer to her breasts. The music seemed to fade as his desire turned hot in his blood. The room around him vanished, leaving him alone with her, the feel of her flesh in his arms the singular experience of existence. He gasped as she made time with the music, eyes closed, inhaling her fragrance, the smell of sweet decay. Gripping her arms tightly, he pulled her closer. He laid his head against her back and with his eyes shut, the world ceased into perfect nothingness as his body shuddered against hers.
Robert dressed for work as he listened to the traffic report on the radio. The man reading the report sounded dead he thought to himself.
‘Traffic is moderate to heavy on I-95, with a twenty-minute delay at the I-195 exit. Traffic northbound is heavier due to an accident at exit twenty-five. That’s the traffic at ten to the hour.’
He shut off the radio and grabbed his keys from the desk. Staring into the mirror near the door, he ran hands through his hair, wishing for more time to be ready. He placed a hand on the doorknob and paused. Closing his eyes for a moment, his head slumped down. With a sigh, he opened the door and stepped out into the cold sunlight of January.