by Wayne Scheer
The moment Allan opened his eyes and felt the Spring morning breeze slip through the open bedroom window, he recalled the night before and how much he loved Marla after almost forty years of marriage.
"Good morning," she said, opening another window. "You wouldn't believe how perfect today is."
"Mmm," Allan mumbled. "I know how perfect it was last night."
Marla smiled. "You do good work for a man your age."
"Yeah, well just think how good I could have been had I been awake. We haven't stayed up that late making love in years.”
Marla sat down on the bed next to her husband and ran her hand through his hair. The dark curls had long ago given way to white
. "When'd you wake up?" Allan asked. Squinting at the clock, he saw it blink 7:38.
"Maybe an hour ago. I showered, read the paper, made my lunch." She kissed his gray-stubbled cheek. He realized she was fully dressed.
"You ready to go to work?"
"Yeah. Help me with this necklace, will you? I have a meeting at nine-thirty. I thought I'd get in a little early and do some paper work."
Allan sat up and stretched his fingers like he was about to perform a complex Bach sonata. "Okay, but first I have to kiss you." Pressing his lips to her neck he breathed deeply. "You smell good. You shouldn't waste that at work." His tongue found her ear. Marla pulled away, holding the gold chain with one hand. Allan reached around and cupped her breasts.
"Hey, you horny old man. I have to go to work."
"Me, too." He continued kissing the back of her neck, moving his hands down to her hips.
"Are you going to do my necklace or do I have to go to work naked from the neck up?"
"Mmm, I love it when you talk dirty.” He continued kissing her neck.
“Hey, I have an idea," he said.
"You had an idea last night. You're allowed only one idea in a twenty-four hour period. More than that could be dangerous for a man your age.”
"I'm serious. Stay home. Call in sick or well. Say you have a family emergency. Your husband woke up with a joint problem and you have to take care of him."
"Honey, I can't. I have a staff meeting."
"And what happens if you're not there?"
"There's no meeting. I'm the boss, remember?"
"Then you won't miss the meeting." Allan felt proud of his logic, but Marla remained unimpressed.
"Everyone's getting there for this meeting. I can't just not show up."
"Why not? They're supposed to get to work by nine anyway. You think anyone will mind if there's no meeting? Tell them they can eat the donuts without you. They'll be thrilled."
"I'm serious, honey. Stay home. Atlanta's beautiful this time of year. We'll go to Flying Biscuit for breakfast and we'll look at the galleries at Little Five Points. Then we'll hold hands and walk around Piedmont Park, the dogwoods should be blooming." He took her hand and kissed her fingers. "It'll be like we're kids home for a snow day, except we don't have to wear gloves and heavy coats."
"Except we're not kids." Marla stood up. "We have responsibilities."
Allan reached for his glasses so he could see her clearly. Light streamed in through the open windows, highlighting the streaks of gray in her hair. She had gained a few extra pounds through the years and, objectively, he knew she looked like someone's grandmother, but to Allan she was still the girl he had met in college.
"It's easy for you," Marla continued. "You work at home. I have people depending upon me."
"People depend upon me, too. But the Mayfield account can wait while I spend the day with the woman I love."
Allan stood up and Marla tried hard not to laugh at his erection peeking out from under a slightly protruding potbelly. Still, something about his unruly hair and the way his shoulders hinted of muscle reminded her of the boy she fell in love with a long time ago.
Allan took Marla in his arms. "We've been responsible all our lives. Good jobs, children, grandkids." He looked into Marla's deep brown eyes. "It's time we did something irresponsible. We've earned it."
They kissed. She let her hands slide over the body of the man she'd loved for what seemed like a lifetime. Marla pushed him back and began unbuttoning her blouse.
"We have earned it. But you, Mister, have to earn your breakfast."
Wayne Scheer has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net. He's published numerous stories, poems and essays in print and online, including Revealing Moments, a collection of flash stories. (http://issuu.com/pearnoir/docs/revealing_moments). His short story, “Zen and the Art of House Painting” has been made into a short film. (http://vimeo.com/18491827) Wayne lives in Atlanta with his wife and can be contacted at