The man woke to the sound of the alarm clock beeping and moaning in an electric shudder. The numbers glowed back at him in an illuminated green light: 5:30 A.M.
He blinked, then sighed.
Her arm was wrapped around his stomach.
He looked over at her and took hold of her arm gently, setting it down on the comforter. She took a deep breath, then began to stir. "Go back to sleep.
She turned in the bed. "Have a good morning."
He raised his arms upwards and stretched his muscles until they popped. "You too." He walked down the hall to his daughters room. The door was ajar and his daughter was snoring faintly in her new bed; her first bed that \was not a crib. She's growing up fast. Faster than he had expected.
He walked downstairs to the kitchen to make coffee. While waiting for the boiling water to drip and filter into the coffee pot, he sat on the cabinet counter, in the bare fluorescent light above him, appreciating the patience of the process. He poured a cup of coffee into a mug that was in the cabinet. There was a teddy bear printed on the side of it. It read Key West. He took a sip, even though it was still to hot.
He looked at a section of the newspaper he had saved from the former day; the crossword, half finished and in need of new assessment; Winkin, Blinkin, and _______.
He rubbed his eyes.
He turned on the hot water in the bathroom shower of the master bedroom.
"Keep it down" She said Jeeringly from the bed.
He let the hot water spray and drizzle over his face. He scrubbed the dead skin lingering on various parts of his body. He took a deep breath of steam and hot air, with it's lingering domestic fragrances of lilac and lye. She always bought lilac scented soap. He toweled himself off after the shower. He looked at himself in the bathroom mirror.
The walk in closet also had a mirror. Silk. Red hounds tooth neck tie. His hands folding and cinching the noose. Thinking about the noose. Double Windsor .
He stepped out into the bedroom fully dressed in suspenders and a tie.
She was awake, staring at him from the bed. "You look fantastic."
"Take a picture then." He tightened his tie. Noose. Thoughts of a noose.
"Maybe I will"She said smiling. She had messy hair, smudged eyeliner, and drowsy eyes.
"Go back to sleep." He walked back down the hallway to his daughter's room. He approached her bed and kissed her forehead. "Goodbye sweetie."
He went downstairs and walked out the front door to his car. He had been doing this for two and a half weeks. Pretending. Pretending he was still employed; everything was as it always was. Stability. Family. Home.
How to make it look like an accident for life insurance purposes. He tightened his tie in the car. A noose would not do. He started the car. He pulled out of the driveway. The train he waits to pass every day at the same time on his drive into work; what use to be work. He drove to the track 5 minutes earlier than usual. It was his secret route to work to avoid traffic. There was no other cars on the road. It was a longer route, but he could get there faster. He parked on the tracks and shut off his headlights. He waited for the inevitable.
He thought, this better work and closed his eye.
The warning lights began flashing. The guard rails on both sides of the track dropped. The trains whistle bellowed.
This better work.
Aaron B. Molden