By Lauren Bannister
He creeps across the floorboards, quietly cursing each creak for exposing his secret. You clasp your eyes shut and listen intently to his heavy breathing, while your nostrils hunt for his familiar, comforting smell. He quickly undresses and slides under the sheets, he wraps his body around yours in the naïve hope that sleep is contagious. You shift your body and pretend that his arrival has disturbed you from your deep sleep.
‘Hi.’ His words lick your ear as he locks his arms around you, pulling you yet closer.
‘What time is it?’ you ask feigning sleepiness and already knowing the answer.
‘Don’t worry about that, just get yourself back to sleep. I’m sorry for waking you up,’ he responds, ever the doting husband.
Doubt weaves its web across your mind like a silent spider. He notices you glance at the clock, your steely silence encourages him to go into unnecessary detail.
‘You know what it’s like with work mates…one drink down the pub after work means five drinks and stopping off for a kebab on the way home.’ He searches for your hand under the vast expanse of duvet.
You nod but the words do not come, they sit echoing in the pit of your stomach. You know without having to smell him, that there will be no traces of kebab on his breath or skin. His arm grows limp against your body and you know that he is asleep. It has always baffled you how quickly he is able to surrender himself as though he does not have a care in the world. You shrug his arm away from you and move to a cold part of the bed. You shiver and pull your arms under the sanctuary of your own body, eventually drifting off.
When you wake up he is gone. The scribbled note on the side table tells you that he has taken your son to the park. Next to the note sits a bunch of freshly picked, sweetly scented daffodils, still glistening wet with morning rain. You pick up the flowers sitting pretty in their perfect vase and hurl them against the far wall, where the vase smashes and the flowers lay bruised. You have always hated daffodils.
Lauren is currently in the last year of studying for a BA in English and Creative Writing at Salford University. She thoroughly enjoys exploring the genre of short fiction and flash fiction.