Honesty by Henry Martin

December 1, 2011 Comments Off on Honesty by Henry Martin

There are two things I hate doing on weekends: bowling and company parties.

I look around at all my coworkers, all the people I’m forced to share my days with, day after day. They prance around in their bowling shoes, dull glares replaced with artificial smiles.

My boss passes me to my right, too close to be ignored.

“You should get your shoes on. The fun’s about to begin.”

She’s bubblier than usual, so I nod and force myself to grin.

“Ten and a half … men’s.”

The kid behind the counter hands me a pair of the saddest looking shoes I’ve ever seen. They match his expression perfectly.

I sit down and start fighting with the laces. Then I spot her.

Mirreille … the sweetest looking gal in the whole company. For a moment, our eyes meet. And just before she turns away, I noticed she’s blushing.

I get up and slide on the polished floor towards the bar.

“Johnny Walker … Black.”

The glass lands in front of me. I lift it up, wet my lips. “One more please. Oh, and make me two Mojitos while I’m working on this.”

I take it slower with the second one.

Mojitos in hand, I slide back to the party. Everyone is pretending to have fun — management is watching. I make my way through the crowd, set the drinks in front of Mirreille, and, for the first time this evening, I smile. She doesn’t speak English, and I don’t speak French. We tap our glasses.

Somewhere between the fifth and sixth Mojito, the bowling party ends.

“Bon nuit.” I get up, ready to call a cab.

Mirreille takes my hand.

We’ve been working together for six years and, while we seem to have been eyeing each other for almost as long, this is the first time I feel her skin against mine. I keep my hand in hers.

She leads me to her car. I get in. Destination unknown. Unable to communicate, we ride in silence.

She takes me to her apartment, and as soon as the door closes behind us, we start pulling clothes off one another.

When its all over, I take a shower, get dressed, pour myself a drink, and walk onto the balcony.

Gazing into the blue pool in the yard, I smoke a cigarette. My thoughts are all over the place … only the guilt is clear.

Inside, Mirreille sits on the edge of the bed, phone in her hand. I have no idea what she’s saying or to whom.

“I’m gonna call a taxi.”

She shakes her head, hangs up, and takes my hand. We get back in her car and she drives me home.

The sun is breaking on the horizon. My apartment is dark. My wife is on the sofa in front of the TV, asleep.

I sit next to her. She opens her eyes, looks at me, and pulls the blanket all the way to her chin.

“How was the party?”

We need to talk … instead, I just take her hand.

© 2011 Henry Martin

When he’s not buried elbow-deep in some greasy motorcycle project, Henry Martin enjoys reading quality literature and writing prose and poetry of varying coherency. He finds inspiration in conquering the open road while trying to outrun some of the characters he created in the past. He lives with his family in NH, surrounded by coyotes, foxes, and bears.

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