6:00 am Now
David’s alarm screeches. His arm instinctively shoots across the bedside table to silence it.
Billy is curled up on the other side of the bed. If he were any further from David, he'd be on the floor. The alarm woke him, but he remains still, feigning sleep.
6:00 am Then
David’s alarm screeches. His arm instinctively shoots across the bedside table to hit snooze.
David turns to find Billy’s face smiling near his.
They curl into a spooning position and fall back asleep. Hoping the next nine minutes would last forever.
6:02 am Now
David slowly pushes himself out from the sheets, as if the bed were giving birth to him. He lumbers into the bathroom. The coldness of the room penetrates his pajamas. He gazes into the mirror until his face comes into focus enough to shave.
Billy covers his head with his pillow to block out the sound of the electric razor.
6:09 am Then
The alarm rings again.
“No,” Billy whines.
David hits snooze again. Their naked bodies keep each other warm.
“We’re never leaving here,” Billy declares like he does most mornings.
David sighs happily.
6:13 am Now
David strips and walks under the cold streams of water. Only when he’s finished has the water warmed to a comfortable temperature. He dries himself with an old, worn towel.
The running water lulls Billy back to sleep.
6:13 am Then
With the next alarm, David pulls himself out of bed.
“Do we have to?” Billy nearly cries.
Billy seems to drop out of his side of bed, then crawls over to the Bose system. With a click of a button, dance music blasts though the house. A soundtrack to their well-choreographed morning routine.
They make the bed, playfully poking at each other’s naked bodies.
They shave harmoniously at their double sinks. Glancing and smiling at each other.
They shower together, lathering each other up and washing each other’s backs and hair.
They dance as they dry each other with warm, fluffy towels they bought specifically for their new bathroom.
6:25 am Now
Billy doesn't hear David slip into their walk-in-closet, close the door and choose his outfit for the day. He passes over his dapper clothes for more comfortable ones.
Not caring that he’s already worn this combo this week.
6:32 am Then
So begins the morning fashion show. Billy dances around their closet in his freshly laundered undies. He scans all of David’s clothes as if he’s a detective searching for clues. “We need to go shopping this weekend,” he suggests his favorite weekend pastime.
David waits patiently. Trusting Billy’s choices.
“You just want to keep me as scantily dressed for as long as possible,” David teases.
“Don’t deprive me of my morning eye candy.”
David never leaves the house looking anything less than a GQ model.
6:45 pm Then
The moment David arrives home, Billy hands him a glass of wine.
“How’s my baby?” Billy asks.
They kiss, toast and sip their wine.
Within five minutes, they’re all over each other like teenagers.
David’s stylish clothes are tossed to the floor.
Dinner is late. Again.
6:45 pm Now
David works late. Again.
He’ll have dinner at the restaurant in his office building. Again.
He makes a mental list of all the errands he has to do on his way home. As much as he can do to stay out for as long as possible. He promises to treat himself to a movie or play, one of these nights. But he never does.
9:30 pm Then
David and Billy settle down on the couch to watch some television after their “clothing-optional” dinner. In between, they cleaned the kitchen and made some online purchases for the household.
“Look at us, being all domesticated,” Billy sounds genuine when they find the perfect kitchen utensils and holder.
Before the 11:00 news, Billy falls asleep on David’s chest. In unison, their bodies rise and fall with each breath.
David hesitantly wakes Billy and helps him to bed.
9:30 pm Now
By the time David arrives home, Billy is out for the evening.
Alone, David undresses, gets into bed and reads until sleep overtakes him.
He rarely hears Billy come home.
6:45 am Now
From the kitchen, Billy hears the clanking of David’s spoon against a ceramic bowl as he eats his breakfast.
6:45 am Then
David prepped the coffee the night before. He drinks his black while Billy adds a ton of cream and sugar.
“You want a candy bar instead?” David jokes almost every morning.
“You want cardboard instead?” Billy gestures to David’s granola.
Billy munches on sugary cereal as they sit and discuss their plans for the evening and weekend.
6:50 am Now
David sits in silence, eating his granola and yogurt.
6:55 am Then
David glances at his watch: “I’m gonna be late.”
Billy whines in disappointment. He still has more than an hour before he has to leave the house.
David gathers his briefcase and some snacks for the day. As he reaches the door, Billy blocks the way.
“You have to pay the toll,” Billy tells him.
David kisses him.
“More that that with inflation.”
David kisses him six more times.
“That may hold me over ’til tonight.”
Billy smacks David’s ass as he walks out the door, then watches from the doorway as David gets into his car. He waves and blows kisses as David drives away.
From his rearview mirror, David watches Billy until he’s out of sight.
6:55 am Now
David slips quietly out of the house.
7:30 am Now
Billy’s alarm screeches.
Thomas J. Misuraca studied writing at Emerson College in his hometown of Boston before moving to Los Angeles. He has published two novels and over one hundred short stories. His story, "Giving Up The Ghosts," was published in Constellations Journal and nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2021. His work has recently appeared in Literature Today, The Unconventional Courier, and The Cafe Irreal. He is also a multi-award-winning playwright with over one hundred and fifty short plays and thirteen full-lengths produced globally. His musical, Geeks!, was produced Off-Broadway in May 2019. Website: http://www.tommiz.com/