Coasting – Part Ten (Final)
Von shredded some cheese, added it on top of the eggs and turned the stove down low. He retightened his towel and walked into the bedroom to check on Darren. He still couldn’t see his face, but figured it was time he woke up. He sat down on the corner of the bed and tapped on the closest lump in the sheets. Darren moved an inch and let out an it’s-too-early groan.
Von: “You up?”
Darren: “Oh my head..”
They shared a careless Sunday morning laugh.
Von: “You want two eggs or three?”
Darren: “Ahh man, you don’t have to-“
Von: “Don’t worry about it. If I remember correctly, and when I say that I mean I don’t remember at all, but I think you need these as bad as I do.”
Darren: “Well, when you say it like that-“
Von rubbed his face and let Darren stir about for a few moments.
Darren: “What time is it?”
Von: “Quarter to ten.”
Darren: “Jesus. I gotta go into work to grab some stuff at eleven.”
Von stood up from the bed, stretched and turned toward the kitchen before looking back.
Von: “You can shower here if you want.”
Darren: “I appreciate it but-“
Von: “Really, no worries. Your head will thank me in a few hours.”
Darren: “Yeah, you got a point there.”
Von: “I’m gonna finish the eggs. Take your time in there, no rush. Especially this morning.”
Darren: “Well, looks like I’m buying the coffee next time.”
Von walked back into the kitchen, finished mixing the eggs and separated them out on to two plates. He refilled his water and drank it down. He locked his arms straight on either side of the sink, dropped his chin to his chest and closed his eyes. The sound of running water came from the bathroom. He frustratedly poured another glass of water and began to drink. His hands gripped the glass tightly and brought it towards his face as if the water angered him. After two gulps he set it down with a thud, leaving it three- quarters full.. He stared into the sink and closed his eyes again briefly. He took a heavy first step out of the kitchen, his mind no longer occupied with his hangover.
He looked around the bedroom and paused at the sight of the overturned sheets. Water running. He moved slowly and quietly around the perimeter of the bed before sitting between two pillows and gripping the sheets tightly. He stared at the ceiling, searching. Looking to the side of the room, he saw Darren’s watch on the other nightstand and felt its weight in his hand. Again, he walked slowly across the room, but this time toward the bathroom. Water running. He looked in the mirror and set down Darren’s watch by the sink. He took his last steps and placed his palm flat on the warm glass.
He let his towel drop before opening the door, closing it softly behind him. The only sound was water running.
PREVIOUS: COASTING – PART 9
more by SANDY DODGE
photograph by Ana Gabriel