Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)
TITLE: The Blanket
By Maxx .
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On the nightstand my digital clock smoldered, leering a fiery red, winking in the conspiratorial rhythm of time eroding.
The shape in bed next to me shifted and groaned.
I raised a hand to my nose and inhaled; long, slow, searching.
It was still there â€¦ she was still there. Faint, almost a memory, but pungent and tantalizing.
I pushed away the blanket, the woolen fibers scratching through our threadbare sheet, a million little claws clutching at exposed skin, suffocating me nightly. I swore.
Jenny had been in the copy room near the postage meter where the isle is narrowed by boxes of envelopes and letterhead. She had loitered, straightening the labels, watching the door â€¦ waiting.
I had needed to get past.
I squeezed by.
She leaned. Her young body, firm beneath the contoured dress, pressed against me. Her manicured fingertips brushed my chest â€¦ electric.
My breath had caught, surged, filling my lungs. Flowery shampoo mingled with musky perfume, a coiled addiction eager to ensnare.
Her eyes, a deep brown, seemed to hold a molten depth. She looked up at me, moist, round, expectant. The alluring shape of her mouth â€¦
I touched her. My hand slipped along her scented back, delicate, slender, hot.
She had smiled â€¦ and walked away, the sway of her hips an irresistible image seared into my mind.
The woman in the bed beside me rolled, tugging the smothering woolen blanket, that heirloom from her grandmother, that thing which I resisted. She moved. From beneath the covers came chipped nails and calloused hands. The faded, hopelessly stretched college sweatshirt Iâ€™d given her so many years before appeared a mottled relic.
My lips drew thin and I shook my head.
Jenny wouldnâ€™t wear a ratty sweatshirt. Sheâ€™d be in lace, if anything at all. Her sheets, crimson silk. I could make that happen, for her, for â€¦ us.
I smelled for her fragrance once again. But the must of the night combined with the dander from the wool and the essence that was Jenny faded until it was lost.
â€śNo!â€ť My voice growled in a searing whisper â€¦
â€¦ as my wife flopped beneath the ancient mantle.
I kicked my feet free of their bondage and turned to stand, to â€¦ escape.
The wind gusted about the house, goading me. â€śYou can get more,â€ť it promised. â€śSheâ€™ll be waiting in the copy room tomorrow. Nobody will ever know.â€ť The clock winked agreement and the nubile vines enticed. â€śAnything you want.â€ť
I wondered if they were right. â€śJenny â€¦â€ť Her name hung in my guttural mumble.
I moved to the window as my body tingled and my thoughts wandered into dangerous territory.
A stirring beyond the nightlight in the hallway startled me, tiny fingers on a crib sheet. The mother of my baby roused, stood, and hurried to the door; bare feet padding to the next room.
â€śIâ€™m here.â€ť Her voice was warm, rich, soothing. â€śIâ€™ll always be here for my precious angel.â€ť
The wind died away as my daughter cooed in response.
I returned to bed, nestling deep, and counted my multiple blessings.
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