Charles gazed in the mirror upon coming to the final buttons of his white JC Penny button down, tie untied hanging at both sides of his hands, chin slightly tilted up. He held the small tail of the tie and wrapped with a snap of familiarity twice, threaded through and pulled downward crisply. He snugged the tie into place, tilted his chin downward and turned away from the mirror not needing to recognize himself any longer than necessary. His coffee maker waited patiently for him to pour that lonely cup and abandon it once again without so much as a thank you for another lonely day. He took it and an apple and walked out the door easily, briefcase in hand. The coffee maker shut itself off and waited still half full for yet another day to pass.
Charles shuffled papers, delegated responsibilities, had lunch, made phone calls, analyzed numbers, took meetings and began to prepare to leave the office for the day. He straightened his papers, put the pens back into the pen cups, tucked the stapler back in, logged out of his computer, made notes for the next day, turned his desk light out, grabbed his coat and casually walked out the door taking a bite of his apple.
No one knew that once he drove out of the corporate parking lot he began to untie his tie with one hand removing it entirely and placing it on his coat which lay next to him over the briefcase. He unbuttoned his top few buttons and placed his hands back on 10 and 2. He did this much without thought, just as when he dressed himself, it was very automatic and emotionless. He didn’t think badly of preparing to go to work. He didn’t rush out the door when leaving. He didn’t curse his tie for being around his neck the way it was all day every business day… and a few holidays and special occasions.
He pulled into the parking lot of a white house converted to commercial property. It had a wrap around porch that was wide and welcoming. He pulled open the screen door and pushed open the wooden and glass door. He knew she was there. His whole body began to light up with electricity and he could feel that if he did not keep himself under control he would certainly become aroused. The obligatory greetings happened as he walked in, calmly hung his coat and sat down. He gazed at her. He ran his finger over the deep burnt sienna of her hair and then again over the french red vermilion of her lips. She lay delicately in a bed of cobalt green and hydrangea blue surrounded by subtle twinkles of pale lemon yellow and silver white. Her elegant, sheer sleeping gown draped over her breasts, her belly, her hips and legs and she waited for her lover longingly.
He secured the apron around his waist and boldly handled his palette mixing a new shade, spatula in hand, linseed oil at the ready and turpentine filling his nostrils.