Friday 5:20 am

Waking up is so hard to do.  Add to that the fact I sleep next to my beautiful girlfriend seven nights a week and the problem compounds.  The clock buzzed ten minutes ago.  I’m getting so bad I don’t even reach over to turn off the alarm, but after that amount of time, it’s a necessity out of courtesy for Shelly.  She doesn’t have to be up for a while, but I have to tell her I’m leaving.  She could call me when she’s awake, but she said it’s not the same as seeing me.  I give in, when it’s actually not the same for me either.  I rise, struggling, but I make it and the carpet feels cold on my feet.  I don’t like that.  The bathroom lies only feet away but it seems like a trek through the desert from where I’m standing.  I make my first stride and after that it’s easy; once you’ve started the race, the finish line is that much closer.

I go through the usual routine; the toilet, the shower, the brushing, the flossing, the cologne, the tie, just like every other morning.  Today, I’m flying out to New York for a big meeting with my firm.  They requested my presence there because obviously there are going to be some criminal accusations being thrown at our clients and that’s my expertise.  I get asked how I could defend these kinds of people, but it honestly doesn’t get under my skin.  I don’t have any questionable friends in my personal life, so I simply treat it as a job.

“Michael,” a low tired voice calls out.  It’s a voice I’m getting used to wanting to hear for the rest of my life.  She doesn’t know it yet but I have a ring.  I went three weeks ago.  It’s tucked neatly in my suitcase.  I don’t dare leave it behind here where she could stumble upon it.  The only place it’s safe is with me, at all times.  I should have given it to her already.  I’ve had opportunities but timing isn’t the best suit in my closet.  I look back at her, half-raised up on her elbow, her hair hanging over the left side of her face.

“Come here,” that sweet subtle voice says.  It has the understated flavor of iced tea when she speaks.  I walk over to her side of the bed and kneel beside it, at eye level with her.  She extends a hand to stroke the side of my cheek, and it causes me to close my eyes.  Her touch always soothes me, makes me feel so completely comfortable, like a warm heated blanket.  She stares at me, at my thoughts somehow, and leans forward to give me a tender kiss.

“Call me when you land.  Just to make sure you’re okay.”

“I will be as soon as I call.  I’ll miss you.  Go back to sleep.”

I kiss her back and the taste and her smell, just the few seconds near it, lingered long enough for me to smile all the way to the airport.

to be continued….

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