Somewhere in between dreams I heard the shower start.
Opening my eyes some time later I found myself bathed in gray light coming through white linen curtains. Then I watched the naked legs of a woman in a towel walking back and forth in front of me as I laid on my side trying to decide whether I was awake or not. Occasionally those legs were followed by a nervous black cat who batted at the towel.
There were the distant smells of coffee, shampoo, perfume, and all those sweet feminine scents I associated with her.
For a few moments sleep took me again, like an undertow dragging me into the waves.
Seconds or minutes or hours later I awoke with a start and sensed her near. She was far less nervous than the cat.
The dry cleaner (a lovely woman from Belarus, I believe) had my order hanging near the cash register, waiting for me. She tried to brush away my tip, but as always she eventually conceded with a smile and daintily shoved the few extra dollars (as daintily as someone can shove something) into her vast brassiere.
Usually by 8:30, which my pocketwatch told me it had just struck, I’d be making coffee, but since my employer was “with guest” and the various grinding of beans and screaming of espresso making apparati would, I’m sure, be a less than ideal wake up call, I was out running the errands which I usually saved for later in the day.
The mornings when my employer had an overnight guest (or guests, as sometimes happens) were some of the most challenging in my professional life, I assure you. Still, in their own way, they were some of the most rewarding.
I’m sort of obsessed by this story. The beginning has been hanging around for a while now. I wrote the ending a while back. I had to sit down and force myself to figure out how to connect the two. With the help of a friend I got it. Let me know what you think.