The room was bare with white walls and period-style lamps from a period I couldn’t name. I sat in the blue chair and thought of the million things I must do if I ever stood again, then dedicated myself to that chair until the fullest potential of my sitting had been realized. As I sat, Paula darted through a fog of silence so thick with meaning it could have condensed into liquid at any moment. The night before had shaken us both. We’d hired a prostitute for a three-way–something I’ve asked for since 2006–and it had gone fine until the prostitute left and we detoured into conversation when sleep would have been just the thing. Talks rarely went well for us. If we could go without talking, I sometimes said, we’d stay married forever. If the economy were better, she’d say, we wouldn’t stay together at all. She reached for something over my shoulder. I turned to the window. A yellow highlighter and a packet of papers rested on the sill. As I passed them to Paula, a man in a brown suit walked across the parking lot and got into a black truck. He held a Styrofoam cup in one hand and a plastic sack in the other. I put my forehead on the cold windowsill and tried not to think about collecting the kids at my mother’s. I must have slept then. Paula’s hand felt moist on the back of my neck. She kissed my ear. Her toothpaste breath settled in my hair.
Eric Bosse is the author of Magnificent Mistakes, a story collection published by Ravenna Press. His work has appeared in The Sun, Zoetrope, Wigleaf, The Collagist, Frigg, Fiddleblack, and World Literature Today. He teaches writing at the University of Oklahoma, where he has served as both a visiting writer and faculty in residence.