August 11th: Asking for my money back was really a terrible idea
Change of Heart
, by Brittney D. Herz

The room smells like lemon cleaner and is surprisingly cold when we walk in. My white button ups are already hung in the small closet, my pants are folded neatly in the dresser, and my soaps are sitting in the shower.

“Well this is it.” I say.

She walks from out behind me and enters further into the room without any hesitation in her steps. Placing a hand on her hip she nods as she studies it.

“Not bad.” She walks to the window and looks out at the city below us. “Decent view at least.” She says walking back towards me.

Her short black skirt rides up slightly as she bends down to look at herself in the mirror above the dresser. After fluffing the side of her blonde hair she rubs her first finger over the tops of her teeth removing some excess lipstick which I had noticed in the cab on the way here.

It may be nerves or it may be some of the liquor still flowing in me but I can’t get my stomach to settle. I try to let out a small cough to hide the sound of it gurgling.

“You um, can have a seat if you want.”

She senses my nervousness like a cat playing with a scared mouse that it knows it’s going to eat. Getting close enough that I can see the loose face powder clinging to her cheeks, she presses against me. Her purse swings beside us.

“Sure.” She lowers herself slowly onto the edge of the king sized bed. When she crosses her legs I can see little spider veins going towards her otherwise perfectly white thighs. They seem like they would be smooth to touch.

“I uh, just need to wash up.”

“I’ll be here.” She leans back placing her hands behind her and lets her head fall to the side playfully.

The water on my face doesn’t make me feel much better like I was hoping it would. Shadows hang below my eyes from the harsh overhead light. It has been weeks, no let’s be honest months, since I have had sex. With every day that passes it seems like I lose an inch on my hairline and gain a wrinkle around my eyes. Being a field service technician for the government keeps me away enough and I always hope when I return home my wife will be ready. It’s been almost four months since the miscarriage and I can’t even touch her.

I take off my wedding ring and place it in the soap dish. A little chime rings out and almost makes me vomit. After a few deep breathes I walk back into the room.

The young woman has removed her skirt and top which were already revealing more skin than my wife at the beach. She lay on her stomach with her legs crossed casually behind her. A small purple bra appears to be strangling her breasts which were barely covered by the see-through fabric. Her bottom and the backs of her legs have a few dimples and on her thigh is a tattoo of Chinese dragon.

“I was starting to think you weren’t coming out of there.” As she speaks she twirls a few strands of hair around her finger.

“Sorry I-“

“Come here.” She sits up and pats the bed next to her. I hesitate but do move towards her after a few moments. Once I sit I notice I still have my shoes on. I hear her let out a small sigh as I unlace each one and take them off to place under the bed.

“Sorry.” I say.

She smiles and starts to unbutton my shirt. It took several dates with my wife before we were alone in a room together. When she first unbuttoned my shirt her fingers shook and she kept her eyes on mine the whole time. This woman has my shirt on the floor within moments.

The thick paste of her lipstick tickles my neck. I close my eyes and try to pretend she is my wife. I let my hands grab onto her thick hair and I pretend that it is a rich brown instead of brassy blonde. I imagine it’s my wife straddling me and it’s my wife’s breast underneath my hands.

The image of her keeps fading every time I breathe in. My wife smells of strawberry lotion and spearmint gum. This woman smells of Budweiser and Marlboro Reds.

The feeling of my pants moving makes me open my eyes. She is working to get my belt undone.

“I’m sorry.” I say softly.

“Shhh.” The belt opens and she pulls down on my zipper.

“No!” I jump out of bed accidentally throwing her to the hard carpet and making her hit her head on the nightstand.

“Ow what the fuck?”

“I’m sorry, ma’am. I can’t do this.”

“Do what?” She keeps feeling around her head and then looking at her hand to see if there is any blood.

“This, I can’t do it.” I grab a new shirt out of the closet still apologizing. She too put her shirt back on while still sitting on the ground. I give her my hand to help her up which she stares at like it’s covered in nails. She does let me help her off of the floor and dusts herself off.

As she lifts her purse to put it on the bed something heavy falls out, and crashes into the side table. A black gun shines up at us.

I have seen guns, it’s a given working in the government, but I’ve never had one in my room in the hands of an untrained person. My breathing becomes quick. We both look down at it then at each other. She keeps eye contact with me as she bends down and picks it up. Asking for my money back, was really a terrible idea.

*

Brittney D. Herz works and lives in Maryland and does all the things typical Marylanders do. She eats crabs, loves the beach, and occasionally writes. She has her Master’s in Library Science and is currently working on a program for at risk high school students. Find Brittney on Facebook.com/bdherz and on her website!


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