Little noises from the living room, then the bathroom woke me up.
It was nearly my normal time anyway, but my wife had apparently decided to let me sleep in. She hummed and sang softly to herself, and seemed happy. I searched my memory. Had I made dinner reservations and arranged for the night off?
I slipped out of bed, into the hall, and glanced over the banister. My wife stood below, before the mirror, nearly wearing a dress.
Her hairstyle was different, she must have visited the salon. My eye was drawn to the dress. From the back it didn't seem like much at first glance. I had taken it for her exercise clothes, and then assumed it was something she had picked up to sunbathe in. It wasn't until she moved into the sunlight and I saw the shimmer that I realized that she was wearing a fairly-new, expensive dress. It also showed a lot of skin. A strap over her left shoulder crossed and connected to the top of the right bust line. It flowed down the back to the left side of what initially appeared to be a 80s style tube top. The bottom of the front left side connected to a very low slung skirt and the right rear of the top connected to back of the skirt. A shiny tube top held up by one strap and it in turn held up the skirt with two very thin straps. The skirt ended well above her knees.
I must have made a noise. She looked over her shoulder at me and then rushed to the coat closet. I heard hangers screech as she slid them across the metal rods.
Stumbling down the steps, trying to wipe sleep from my eyes, I caught her as she neared the door, her full length London Fog coat wrapped and belted tight. She bent to grab her purse off the telephone stand. "I'm going out with the girls, Tupperware sales night. Have a good night at work. Love you." She air-kissed me as she pushed by.
"You're going out with the 'girls', wearing that?"
"Look, it's just the girls that I sell Tupperware with. Some of them work at the warehouse and never get to go to any of the sales parties. We just decided that we would take a few of them out. Hit a bar, have a few drinks. Show the warehouse girls what they are missing."
"You're a married woman and you're going out dressed like you want to give it away?"
"We're going to a bar! I'm just going dancing. You know I like to dance. Tease some of the guys a bit maybe. You know how I looked in High school. I never got the chance to experiment."
"Yep, I know how you looked in High School. That is where I met you and fell in love with you."
"Well, it's just us girls. See you in a while. Not real sure when this will run down. You will probably already be at work though," and she was gone.
I walked into the living room and dropped onto the sofa. Working midshift can take its toll on the body. My wife was partially right. I had been scheduled to work. It was difficult to keep track of at times, 6 days on, 2 days off, 6 swings on, 2 swings off, 6 mids on 2 mids off and once a month a "free" day off or overtime if you wanted to work. I'd planned on a nice supper out but she dropped her news before I could ask. I turned on the TV and set the sleep timer for 120 minutes. I discovered the timer a few weeks ago after falling asleep and then hearing my wife complain about how the noise kept her up all night. Now, if I fell asleep watching the news the TV would turn itself off. Settling back onto the couch I turned on the news and promptly fell asleep.
At about 2am I heard the front door bang open.
"Can you make it from here, baby?" a male voice whispered.
"I can, I can, I ... umph." The lights remained off.
"Ok, here let me help. Up we go."
"Whee, you're strong."
"Now three steps to the landing. Up the five steps." Uneven steps let me follow them in my mind. "Now turn the corner, 5 more steps. Ok, we are at the top. You need to piss?"
"You gonna wipe me?" my wife said in a tiny girl-like voice. "You gonna help lil' me on da potty?"
"Ah, baby we don't want to start that again. I..."
"You don't wanna help me potty? You're not gonna help me clean up my ... kitty?"
I got up and went out the back door, my heart trailing pieces behind. Sitting in the porch swing, I almost couldn't hear her scream her first climax. Or the second one.
Ten minutes later, I heard a car start from the other side of the house and drive away, while I sat staring at the lights of town. We'd picked this spot for the house together. It had a good breeze during spring and summer.
Getting up I went into the living room and sat back down on the couch. Her scream was the next thing I remember.
"Oh dear God. You scared me. What the hell are you doing down here on the couch? When did you get home?"
"I've been home."
A confused look slid over her face followed by a curious one. "Why didn't you come to bed? That couch can't be good on your back."
"I don't have a bed." It came out in a monotone.
"What the hell do you mean by that?"
"Well, I thought I had a bed here but it seems I don't. The couch will have to work for a day until I can get something figured out."
"Okay, what the hell are you talking about? If you don't start making sense I am just going to go back up stairs and use that bed you say you don't have."
"I guess, In a few days you can get even more use out of it."
"You're not making any sense. How long have you been up? When did you get home?"
"Oh, I have been home. Well, here. Here ain't home any more."
"Would you stop playing fucking word games? When did you get off work?"
"Yesterday. I didn't have to work last night. That was why I was trying totell you before you went out last night ... I was going to ask you to go to dinner with me."
"Well where the hell were you if you weren't at work?"
"Right here on the couch. All night. Well until about 2am when some noise woke me up and I went out on the porch."
I could see my wife's mind work. It was reflected on her face. Confusion, surprise, horror." You were here!?"
"Yep, seems he knows the house almost as well as I do. Counting off steps to the landing, the stairs themselves, and the steps to the bathroom."
"Oh honey." She walked towards me with a look of pity on her face. "Oh god, I am so sorry you heard that. I love you. I really do." She set down on the couch and pulled me into her arms as if I was a young child. "I really love you. I just ... I had to see if I was ... if I had missed out on something."
"Love." was all I said.
She glanced down at my face, my head pulled into her breasts. "Yes dear?"
"No. I was not calling you that. That is what you missed out on." I stood and moved to the chair. "I'm going to get some clothes and find a hotel."
"What ... what do you mean?"
"This house is no longer my home. That room will never be my bedroom again. You have given it all away."
I went upstairs and grabbed an old backpack. I began putting clothes in it. Shirts. pants, underwear, I just stuffed it all in the bag. "You going to use Kevin or find someone else?"
She didn't answer.
"Kevin, your brother, the lawyer. Are you going to call him or make a different contact."
"Oh God, I don't want to pull Kevin into this."
"Fine, Neither of us will use his firm. Probably a good idea. That way the taxes can be finished with out a conflict of interest."
Picking up the phone book I flipped to T-for-Taxi. Looking at the first listing, I made the call. I gave the taxi dispatch the address, tossed the bag over my shoulder, and walked out of the house, never to return.