Venetian blinds are a rental standard and this morning the sun is particularly bright as it rises and peeks through each individual gap, wedging itself under my eyelids. My ears tune into the roaring snore of Michael beside me. I feel my teeth grind, I should have told him to go home after dinner. I stare at the ceiling. Today is the day. Am I going to go through with it? I’m still on the proverbial fence.
Uh! Michael’s phone blares out the sound of the dizi. It’s meant to wake him up gently, so as not to, alarm him. The sound bugs me because it reminds me of the time my downstairs was aggressively waxed when I decided to duck into the day spa during my lunch break last year. I had no appointment and found the place adjacent to the food court. I should have processed that information instead of walking through the door. I was applying ice for almost a week afterwards.
Michael opens his bagless eyes, raises his arms above his head and stretches. He turns to me.
“Hey Beautiful.” His dragon breath is offending my nose.
“You set your alarm early today.”
He sits himself up and cracks his knuckles. “I have a patient coming at 7:30, moved things around so we could get to the real estate office early and swap our signatures for two sets of keys.” He rolls out of bed and into the bathroom.
He has clients, not patients. Patients are people who receive medical treatment, not deep tissue massage. The distinction is clear to me, but Michael feels strongly otherwise. We had been dating over a month when I suggested he was using the wrong terminology. This lead to an argument, or debate, as he referred to it the next day. It lasted three hours and stopped because I needed to go home. If he wanted to sound like a tosser that was his choice.
He emerges from the bathroom looking fresh and I feel a butterfly in my stomach as I remember that cheeky smile was the reason I fell for him. He throws the wet towel on the bed and the feeling dissipates.
He dresses and we head to the kitchen. I make coffee as he blends his collection of items from the fridge into a frothy green concoction which is tipped into a stainless steel bottle. I follow him to the garage where he opens the door and collects his bicycle. As he straps on his helmet he looks up and down the hallway.
“It will be much better in our place. That house has the correct feng shui.”
He leans over and kisses my cheek then climbs on the bike. I watch him vanish before I wipe his still wet kiss off. Nope, I can’t live with him. Decision made. I glace at my watch. Two hours to come up with an escape plan. Better get to work.
*This was entered into the Australian Writers Centre Furious Fiction Competition for January 2021