I am a journalist. My job description pretty much says that I write for, or edit a newspaper. My stereotype indicates that I'm nosy, disrespectful, arrogant and eccentric. Contrary to what you may think, I can assure you that I'm none of these things. Not to my own friends and family, anyway. My name is Sarah Windsor, I am twenty six, and to earn my money, I'm a liar. What I think about murder, or the girl who was raped and drowned or the wars in Iraq doesn't really matter. I'm not supposed to think about that. My view is neutral, with sympathy. So I can't go ahead and say how I thought the murderer knew exactly what he was doing, or that the girl deserved it, or that the troops should get the fuck out of there before things get out of hand. You see, that's just not PC. In other words, journalism is helping people live a life unaware. The man down the coffee house, reading the New York Times? Well, he's just read about the shootings in Boston, but he doesn't worry, as I wrote the day before that the police have the situation well under control. This man is oblivious to danger, and he likes it that way, because it's easier to live that way.
You could say that I'm outspoken, however, when compared to a city paper, everyone is outspoken. I really fucking hate my job. This is the feeling that lies really heavy on my shoulders as I wake up in my bed, beside my partner, Guy, on September 3rd 2001, in New York, New York.
I stretch a little, and then pull the thin covers over my shoulders, so at least they feel warm. The sheets aren't clean, and I can tell because they feel too hot and the white is a faded cream like the colour of a dead white rose. Guy is practically knocked out, with this mouth open and his head high on the pillow next to me, and I smile, as I love him so much. As usual, my alarm sounds after I've woken up, but I don't stop it from doing so, I just hit the snooze button and try with everything I've got to go back to sleep. Guy stirs for a minute, and I find myself playing the classic 'Will he? Won't he?'; He won't, and a large snore emits from his nose, or mouth, to emphasise this.
I find myself lying on a bedspring, which is extremely uncomfortable, so quietly, I try to move off it without disturbing my man. However, this fails, and about five more springs creak at once, like I've been playing the kids game where you put all the toys on the donkey. Guy stirs. Immediately I shut my eyes, to try and convince him that I am still asleep, but like every morning, he emits a tired laugh, and I open them, smiling now myself.
"Morning." I say quietly, turning over onto that wretched bedspring just so that I am level with him.
Guy releases a noise that hasn't really got a description, along with a stretch, and lets his loose arm flop over onto my back. He strokes my skin through my t-shirt, and, obviously discontent with this, he shoves his hand underneath it, giving me a large shiver.
"Hello." He says, his eyes still firmly shut. Today, of all days, neither of us want to get up, get dressed and leave. Today is the first of the week, and as Guy works in PR, and I work in journalism, today is the busiest, with letters coming in by the dozen, and more changes to the paper being made than normal, it is hectic, and our editor often goes crazy at us, for not doing our job correctly, for writing in slang, for not being neutral enough, for being hungover; the list is endless.
Yet, however large the urge is just to stay in bed and talk all day, neither of us obliges to it, and we both get out of bed at exactly the same time, without discussion. Guy pulls out a pair of freshly pressed boxers, and laughs.
"What's so funny?" I ask him, bending over to pull out the bottom drawer which holds my bras and everything else indecent.
"You pressed my underpants."
I find myself smiling as I search to find some practical pants.
"Of course I did." I say, kicking the drawer shut with my foot. I walk over to him, and sling my arms around his neck, because I just cannot resist him. "I'm a perfectionist."
He laughs loudly, showing that world class smile that I just love. Guy was scouted by a modelling agency once in Brooklyn. It's a fact I like to bring up at every social gathering we have.
"Damn right you are." He says, planting one right on my lips. A great, big, long one, which enjoy far too much. After finally breaking away, I am slightly speechless. I just laugh breathily. Guy has gone into the bathroom. I know this, because I can just see his ass around the corner. I stare too long, and jog quickly downstairs to get breakfast before my shower, because I know I'm already late for work. I don't care though. If I'm late for work, which I have been for the past five weeks, I might get fired. However, this has been my belief for those last five weeks, and my boss seems to not care. Strange, I know that if I didn't want to get fired, I would.
"Sarah?" I hear a call from the bathroom.
"Uh huh?" I spit, through a large mouthful of cereal.
"Have you checked out the jobs in the times?"
"No. If I wanted to I could walk down my corridor." I say simply, pushing myself off the breakfast bar with the very day's paper in my hand, the cereal bowl in the other. I yank open the cooler, and scan for OJ; but there is none, so I slam it shut with my hip. "I don't know why I don't ask at work. I'm sure Jerry wouldn't mind filling me in if he sees anything."
Not to self: see Jerry.
"Exactly." Guy says, jogging through the kitchen door. "Then you'd get first choice, huh?"
He kisses the top of my head.
"Honey, don't you think you should get changed?" he asks me.
I sigh, and drag my cereal bowl from the table top, looking around for our dog, Buddi. He's still sleeping.
"Why don't you just quit?"
I sigh, putting my hand to my forehead. "I told you. We've been through this. If I quit, the paper will fall apart without me, and it'll be my fault. If he fires me, and the paper... falls apart, then it won't be my fault."
I'm lying, really, an it's a bad lie, but I really can't tell him why I can't quit.
"Come on, Sarah. Can't you take control for once? How old are you?"
I chew my lip. It's a question I get asked by so many people on a pretty much daily basis, and it pisses me off so much. He knows it. I know he does, which is why when Guy wants to get a serious reaction out of me he always asks the question.
"Yes. You're right. I understand." I walk away, my arms flailing as I shout back at him. "I'm a 26 year old woman who's boyfriend still does everything for her. Yep. Right, I get it."
I hear him running after me, but dodge around him, careful not to spill my cereal.
I twist the shower knob.
"That's not what I meant." He says.
"See you later." I say, snapping the shower curtain shut between us both and getting engulfed with hot water.
"Sarah..." he warns. I can tell he has his hand to his forehead, because that's just what he does in situations like this one. "I'm not coming in there after you."
I pour some shower gel into my palm and gently begin to massage my body.
"The thought hadn't crossed my mind." I call to him, truthfully, over the noise of the shower. After a moment of silence, the shower curtain opens, and Guy is standing there, totally butt naked.
"I meant it..." I whisper, but he has already stepped into the shower with me. I feel like a teenage girl again, breathless, and in absolute awe. My eyes are wide, and he begins to kiss me, softly, then pushing his tongue inside my mouth. I hop up, into his arms, my legs spread around his waist and he pushes me against the wall. I feel his hand slide past my tummy button, past my hips. I gasp, as he begins to thrust with his hips, grabbing mine and pushing them downwards, as my legs tighten around him. I moan, and hold his head close to mine, kissing and biting his neck. We both yell, and all is silent again. Guy pulls away from me, and I laugh, breathlessly.
"Make up sex." He states simply, smiling at me.
Though he obviously enjoyed himself, I feel guilty, as he is mega late for work. I am sweating, but the water washes it away. I push him out of the shower.
"Go." I say, stroking his chest and kissing it. "You're already late."
Note to self: have sex earlier in the morning.
He leaves, and I continue to shower, though I know he'll be lurking around the house somewhere. I finish showering, and get out, pulling the towel on the hook tight around me. I catch a glance at the mirror. There is a heart on it, drawn in the steam, and
X x x
I sigh. He doesn't know that I'll be getting some at work too.