Keeping it Clean - Bonnie Smetts

Shadows dancing across his office wall had caught Dr. Sarin’s eye. He stared out the window at the trees whipped by the wind. His hand ran over the familiar grain of his wood desk and remembered his wife’s back and the shape of her spine. A year is along time to miss someone. He missed her company. Why hadn’t he been tenderer toward her. He remembered caressing the thickness of her legs and running his hands over the smooth firmness of her face.

Papers out of order on the far edge of his desk caught his eye and interrupted his memories. The sun shown on the sheets and without thinking he patted them into a stack. He moved the jar that held his pencils just to the right distance from the papers. He moved the blotter to align with the warn edge of the desk. He slid back from the desk.

His bookcase, he’d neglected his bookcase filled with titles from school and everything since. He’d added titles without thinking where they might best go. Someone had shoved several books on top of the ordered ones, horizontal stripes of color fighting the rhythm of the rest. He set about making order, moving one and then another, and then moving one and another again. It was like a game, like one of those games his friends played when they met. Chess or whatever they called it. Move here and move there. Keep the black markers one the white squares, or whatever they did.

It occurred to him that he might like to join them. He usually sat to the side and talked and enjoyed smoking with his friends. Rearranging. Would it be about arranging and rearranging? He pulled two books from the shelf and set them on the edge of the desk. They were of no interest to him. He must find someone to whom they would be.