Contributor: Adrian Fort

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He pulled the slack end of the tie once, twice, then it was just a string of fabric with a knot in it. So he pulled the thick end through and smoothed the fabric. Hung it back on the tie rack.
Wished he hadn’t brushed his teeth.
His breath was never great anyway, she made sure he knew that.
Two quick jerks and the shirt tails were out of his pants, then the rest of the hem, and he started unbuttoning the shirt at the bottom. The neck button was always a pain in the ass, he’d picked up some weight. She’d taken it harder with the baby, with Eli, they had already named it even. But he always said “baby” then she gave him that look.
He hung the shirt back up but didn’t fold the undershirt, just threw it in the drawer.
He shouldn’t have yelled at her.
There were several worn holes in the belt and he wondered if he would make a new hole when the time came, or if he would just buy a new belt. He coiled it up on top of his dresser.
Everything. He’d said she ruined everything. Yelled it. It was her responsibility to get up and get the tickets, that was true. But maybe he could have stopped and got them on the way to work Friday. Or been late and taken the write-up.
Instead, she slept through her alarm, which went off an hour after his, and the box-office sold out. No Saturday through Sunday art auction. It was her idea, too.
He unbuttoned his pants and wondered when the button would pop off, she’d curse him while sewing it back on. He folded them and sat them next to the belt.
Slipped the underwear to the floor, hooked the elastic band with his big toe and kicked them up to himself. Caught them, put them back in the drawer and closed it gently.
One step by one step he walked gently back toward the bed. He knew around where the creaky board was so he took a long open step, spread himself wide to avoid it. Got his front foot on the ground and pressed his back foot off of the soft carpet and arched it over like a cat and when it landed back on the soft carpet the floorboard creaked.
He stopped.
She snored lightly. And again. And again.
He moved each foot slightly in front of the other until he was at the side of the bed.
The sheets were cool against his fingers and he was sweating. He tugged the sheet and held his breath as he lifted his leg up onto the bed. He sat his leg on the bed and a little bit at a time he let his weight down on the bed until his standing leg cramped and he collapsed onto the bed.
He nestled back into her warmth. Little spoon because she liked to be the big spoon. He was sweating and he thought about how sad that really was and that he’d get a gym membership soon. And he hoped that sweat would dry before she woke up. And he wasn’t sure how much time he had left. But thinking like that just made him sweat more, so he tried to relax.
He shouldn’t have yelled at her.
If he tried hard enough, maybe he could actually fall back asleep.
No, that didn’t even make sense. He’d just lay there and feel her.
Eventually the alarm went off and she waited a few seconds before she pretended to wake up.

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Adrian Fort is a writer from Kansas City, Missouri, his work has appeared in Existere, decomP, The Bluest Aye, Bareback, and upcoming issues of Chrome Baby, Eunoia Review, and Gadfly ONLINE. Follow him on twitter @adriananyway
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