The Morning After
Gregory had been staring at the ceiling when Elise awoke. He thought he felt about as bad as he could feel, but when he turned towards her, he felt worse.
She was pretty and young. Far too young. Fragments of the night before flashed by like out-of-order images in a Picasso portrait. A party. His novel published by St. Martin's Press. The scent of sex.
His head pounded and his bladder throbbed, but he felt awkward leaving her alone in the hotel bed. He tried to speak, but even "good morning," failed to form on his lips. He thought of Deborah, his wife of thirty-four years, who had died just three month earlier. At least she knew the book would be published. He recalled how she had forced herself to smile in the small hospice room. "You'll have a new life," she whispered. "You earned it."
"I don't want a new life. I want you." He felt tears tickling his cheek.
He remembered how much he and Deborah enjoyed waking up together. He'd hold her in his arms and, without words, they'd affirm their love.
He needed to apologize to Deborah. It was far too soon to wake up with another woman. He wanted to apologize to Elise.
"I have to go," he heard someone say. For a moment, he wasn't sure if the words had come from Elise or Deborah.
Wayne Scheer, a frequent contributor to Camroc Press Review, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net. His work has appeared in print and online in a variety of publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Notre Dame Magazine, Eclectica, flashquake and The Internet Review of Books. Revealing Moments, a collection of twenty-four flash stories, is available here. Wayne lives in Atlanta with his wife. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.