The Morning Man:
a short story
Candice L Davis
Copyright © 2011 Candice L Davis
Bright Mansion Books
All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from Candice L Davis.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
FIRST GREY LIGHT seeps through the bedroom curtains, but Orlando Turner is already awake. Before he opens his eyes, he stretches his hands and feet to the four corners of the bed. The thinking part of him knows he won’t encounter breasts or hips or thighs, yet a blend of relief and pleasure ripples through him as he allows himself to relish this solitude. Satisfied, he rises.
He rises and begins the day with his usual routine: take the towel and robe from the hooks on the back of the door and head to the shower, peek in on the nine-year old twins in their shared bed, stand in the open doorway and study Ella in the room where she has slept since they conceived the girls.
Ella sleeps as always, covered by a thin sheet pulled up to her cheekbones. As is his custom, Orlando watches her until he’s able to perceive the scant motion of her breathing. Having witnessed this evidence of things unchanged, he should step backward, turn from her, and proceed with his ablutions, but today is different. Today, Ella’s eyes open and meet his before he can shut the door between them. It’s the first time his presence has caused her to stir and wake, and Orlando stiffens there in the doorway, tempted to speak, tempted to confess all, that he might be healed, but afraid to disturb the silence and break the agreement by which they’ve lived for so long. His wife holds his gaze, and in that instant Orlando submits to a knowing he has resisted for years.