Joseph De Matteo

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Two

 

He walked up the steps to his fourth floor apartment.  He heard an apartment door closing and keys jiggling as he reached the third floor. 

His date had ended a lot earlier than it needed to.  He’d been with a very sexy and very willing young woman.  When she invited him in to her apartment, she was inviting him into her bed; that was made plain by the kiss.  And for the first time, sex alone was not a lure. 

Something was missing.

The woman on the third floor was locking the apartment door as he took the last step onto the landing, “Good evening.”

“Hello,” she replied, as she straightened up from the lock.  She smiled…a friendly but unfulfilled smile. 

“Do you work nights?”

“No.

“Oh.  I just can’t spend another second alone in that apartment.” Her little smile returned.

He removed his hand from the banister and turned to fully face her, and said, “I just had the most unsatisfying dinner date.  Nice girl and all, but…I don’t know.  The conversation was superficial… You know, there was just nothing there. 

“Why not come up,” his head nodded up the stairs, his hand with his keys raised, he said to the girl on the third floor, ”we’ll have a glass of wine and chat?”

She paused for a moment.

 

They entered his apartment, even from the foyer it seemed warm and welcoming to her.  He hung her coat on a coat tree off to one side.  Beside the coat tree stood a small bench, beneath which was a pair of worn running shoes. 

As he hung his coat she walked past him into the living room.  Up against the opposite wall from the entrance was a long narrow table covered with an array of different size framed photographs.  She went right to it.

An older woman and man: mom and dad?  Two young boys playing: she believed she could she him in the older one.  In another photo the two boys unwrapped presents at the foot of a large Christmas tree. 

A picture of him holding a little boy of about five, the boy held high above one shoulder, and a pretty woman.  At that moment he walked up to her.

“They’re gone,” he said in a low, husky voice. “An accident.  Six years ago.”  He walked off.   Stopped.  Then walked into the kitchen.

 

The two sat at a small table in the corner of the room.   The chairs were extremely comfortable.  The area was well lit.  A window was close enough to offer all its benefits, with no distractions.

Between them on the table was a bottle of white wine, two glasses - half full, a couple of napkins and a dish of sesame crackers.  They talked.

No one ate any of the crackers after the first, nor had either drank more than half a glass of wine.  They talked.

At one point she noticed a large scar along the inside of his arm.  It ran across the fleshy area below the thumb up his arm and disappeared under the folded shirt cuff.

Unconsciously, she put her hand over his wounded hand, covering the scar with her fingers. 

He accepted that without acknowledgement.

They talked on with her holding his hand.  As they did, her eyes grew, something opening below the surface.  Still holding his hand, she slowly stood.  And he followed her up.

Pulling his hand in her clutched grip to her heart, she closed the distance between them and put her head on his left shoulder.  He put his other arm around her and rested his head on the top of hers.

After a time he turned his face and kissed the top of her head through her soft auburn hair.  Moments later she turned her face up and kissed his cheek. 

She didn’t let go of his hand as they walked to the couch.  He sat him down and she sat across his lap.  With his free arm around her, head to head they sat there. 

After a short time, he emptied himself of everything with a long sigh, which seemed to release the tension in her muscles; she fell deeper into his caress. 

They rested like this most of the night, at peace in each other’s arms.

 

The squealing wheels of the subway car shook him from his thoughts.  He was content.  He could not remember the last time he’d felt like this.  He felt so…full.

How odd, he thought.  He’d been with two very attractive women last night and had not slept…well, that wasn’t right, he had not had sex with either.  Deep down he knew that he could have had sex with both of them. 

His time with her had given him more than sexual release could have; it had given him a sense of peace.  This morning he was satisfied on every plain of his existence. 

He shook his head, leaving the analysis for another time; he thought We will be together tonight – having dinner at her apartment

He got off at his stop.

 

Joseph De Matteo

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