The light of the sun peeks through the windows, waking her. Next to her, he still slumbers peacefully. She slips out from under the sheets, not wanting to disturb him. She finds her clothes, which are scattered about the polished wooden floor. The woman, with long hair and a slim figure, tiptoes to the door, knowing which floorboards to avoid in order to not wake him. In the hall, she pulls on her pants and tank top, then ambles to the kitchen where the coffee is already brewed. She pours the dark liquid into a to-go cup, adding cream and sugar, testing it carefully to see if it’s right. Black adidas tennis shoes are waiting by the door, and she slips them on before quietly closing the door behind her.
Stepping outside the sun warms her face, but a cool breeze causes goose bumps to rise on her bare arms. Typical spring morning. Her blue Chevy Equinox sits in the driveway, and she hops in, opening the sun roof and turning the heat on full blast. She heads south out of the driveway.
Aubrey knows she messed up again. She could blame him, but in the end it’s still her own damn fault. Isn’t that in a Jimmy Buffet song? Yeah, well, if only she were wasting away in Margarita Ville, and not here. “What was I thinking? Was I thinking? Apparently not. Never have when it comes to him.”
Her cell rings, saving her from the self-scolding.
Excerpt from “Johnny Walker Black”
Going to light a cigarette, I have to fight the wind. It’s starting to blow hard, and my bic isn’t working. Pissed off, I stomp my foot against the platform and the glass of scotch falls over, pouring the expensive liquor onto the street. Or so I think.
“Hey, what the hell?” A man yells.
“Shit! Sorry about that! The wind knocked it over!” I bend over the rails, pulling the long, blonde curls out of my face to get a better look. Just then I lose my balance and nearly slip off the fire escape. Catching myself, I kick my pack of Marlboro’s over instead.
“Are you okay?” He yells up at me.
“Yes! I’m sorry again! I’m gonna come down and get my cigarettes! Will you hold them for me until I get there please?” I’m on my knees, struggling to get the window open. When he doesn’t reply, I look down at him again. His hair is short and dark, sort of spiky on top, like maybe he uses gel or hairspray. He has on black jeans and a navy pullover. He doesn’t dress like he’s from around this area, I think, looking down at my baggy brown corduroys, dyed T-shirt and bare feet. The window is giving me a hell of a time.
“How about I meet you upstairs? I don’t think you’ll make it down.”
I’m trying to decide if that is a good idea or not when he disappears around the corner. When I finally do open the window, I spot Lucky trucking his fat, orange, furry body over. I dive inside, or fall, is more like it, and grab him before he makes his great escape into whatever land it is cats imagine their missing. Gathering him into my arms I can smell my cigarette burning a hole in the kitchen tiles. I throw it in the sink and slam the window shut. Damn if I didn’t waste a good drink.
Published in Under Construction, the literary journal for North Hennepin Community College.
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