Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example).( 01/03/08)
I Can Smell Him
By Sally Hanan
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A corner of his lips turns upward. He pulls back so he can see my face. I see the eyes of the man who is my friend. I see the eyes of the man who listens to me. I see one who cares, one who laughs, one who is kind and thoughtful and complimentary. I see the man who wants all of me.
He leans forward until his lips touch my ear. “Tell him you have to meet a client,” he whispers. His hand brushes by my waist. I jump. There is that smile again; the one I have been thinking about many times at night.
Only a few hours ago I lay beside my sleeping husband, and my thoughts of the man I married were utterly benign: He is so boring. I've never felt truly alive with him. We were so young. We didn’t understand what we were getting into. I don’t think I love him any more. My husband stirred and touched my shoulder. I felt nothing. There was no ache to be close. There was no desire.
Not like now, here. This man moves and my heart stutters. This man…
We leave the copy room and return to our desks. He sends me an e-mail. I smile. My insides yearn for him.
My mind is full of opposition. It is as if there is a battle going on. Heavy combat. The scene is thick. The field is full of blood. Swords clash. Shields defray the plunge of the ax. Valiant thoughts lie down and gasp their final breath. The enemy is winning, and the spoils of war are waiting. The plunder is opulent.
I pick up the phone. I hit speed dial to my home. My husband answers.
“Hi Honey. What’s up?”
“Oh nothing in particular. I was thinking of you.” I can hear him smile.
“I love you too sweetie. I need to let you go though; Jake just fell over and needs me. Sorry.” One click, and the line goes dead. Just like that.
The warriors in my mind rouse themselves, watching, waiting. Those they thought dead are resurrected. I rise from my seat and walk down the aisle of office space to my manager’s office.
My manager nods his head. He makes a phone call. He scribbles something on paper. “Are you sure about this?” No, I am not sure, yet I am. There can be no other way.
My heart is being shredded, but I keep driving. The lights spaced five feet apart line the driveway. I park my car. Before my key turns all the way, the door opens and my husband greets me with a kiss on my forehead.
“What’s wrong?” He knows me so well.
“I was transferred to another department. I won’t be making as much.” Tears fill my eyes. He pulls me into him.
“It’s ok. We’ll manage.” And I wonder if I will ever feel clean again. But at least I can breathe now, and God will give me the strength I need to keep walking away.
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