“The goddess of the Dawn, like her sister the Moon, was at times inspired with the love of mortals. Her greatest favorite was Tithonus son of Laomedon, king of Troy. She stole him away, and prevailed on Jupiter to grant immortality; but, forgetting to have youth joined in the gift, after some time she began to discern, to her great mortification, that he was growing old. When his hair was quite white she left his society; but he still had the range of her palace, lived on ambrosial food, and was clad in celestial raiment. At length he lost the power of using his limbs, and then she shut him up in his chamber, whence his feeble voice might at times be heard. Finally she turned him into a grasshopper.”
–From The Age of Fable by Thomas Bulfinch.
It was still dark when she woke. I know because I felt the bed move. It lurched as she stood, and I opened one eye, but there was almost nothing to see except the burning green numbers of the digital alarm clock. A bit of light from the street outside came between the window blinds.
“You’re leaving early,” I mumbled into my pillow.
Her shadow moved in front of the clock, and the numbers disappeared. “You knew I was leaving early,” I heard her say in clipped tones. “I have to get to work.”
“Are you mad at me?”
There was a rustle, and then footsteps. “No,” said her voice in the darkness. “I’m not mad at you.” There was a pause, and then, “I’m turning the light on. Watch your eyes.”
I squeezed my eyes shut, but it wasn’t enough. She flicked the light switch and the world exploded painful red on the other side of my eyelids. Groaning, I pulled the sheets over my head, which helped a little.
Her footsteps walked away; there was the sound of a door closing. After a minute I could hear the water running. I slid my hand across the bed and found the warm spot where she had been lying.
I’ve never been much of a morning person. In my twenties, I would get up at five A.M., be showered and dressed by six, and on my way to work at seven, but my mind was never really awake until later in the day. I’m the sort of person that needs the full eight hours, if you know what I mean. Living with Rory, I don’t always get that.
My head came out from under the sheets by degrees, slowly, like a turtle’s. My eyes were finally adjusting. It took a little longer to get to my feet: my back had been aching, and my knees haven’t been right in a long time. But once I was up I was up, and ambling over toward the apartment’s little kitchen.
There were eggs in the refrigerator, a chunk of leftover Swiss cheese, and a few mushrooms. I pulled them out one by one and laid them on the counter. There was a Teflon pan, which I made do with, though no space-age ceramic ever cooks as well as honest cast iron. By the time the bathroom door opened, I had an omelet dancing and spitting on the stovetop.
Rory came out then, her auburn hair still water-darkened and dripping wet, wrapped in her light pink towel. She looked beautiful. But then, hell, she always looks beautiful. I told her so, and she gave me a funny look and said, “Thanks.”
Copyright 2005 © Chris Russo.
Plagiarizers will be doomed to wander the earth forever, deathless, until the Second Coming