Sitting In a Tin Can / by Matthew A. Stirnaman

The moon hung low in the sky, large, almost taunting her with its magnetic presence. She took another sip of wine, her intention started with one glass, she was now flirting with the idea of a fifth. The lack of lights this far outside of the city allowed her to witness the true majesty of the night sky, no urban veil to hide the countless stars from view. A glass of wine, a soft breeze in the air, the temptation to sit under the stars all night. Her friends told her to be courageous, though undoubtedly they did not mean this, she gave the sky a second more of consideration and then walked back inside the house toward the front door.

            Toward the man.

            She sat the empty glass on the table, fussed with her hair in the mirror, and opened the door.

            “Hello, I was starting to think I was at the wrong house, or that maybe you changed your mind,” said the man.

            “No, right house, no change of mind,” she said. “Please come in.”

            She stepped aside and held the door, the scent of too much cologne enveloped her as he walked by.

            “Nice house.”

            “Thank you, make yourself at home, care for a drink?”

            “Sure, have any beer?”

            “I’m afraid not, just wine and some liquor.”

            “Oh, I’ll just have whatever you’re having then.”

            She ducked into the kitchen and took a deep breath. She grabbed a dish towel, dried her sweaty hands, and laughed at her behavior. Get it together, she thought, this wasn’t the first time that a man had come to her door. Not exactly a man though, she thought, grabbing another wine glass from the cabinet. He was in his early twenties, not a single wrinkle on his face, with the human equivalent of the new car smell. Just enjoy this, she thought.

            She found him looking at pictures on the mantle.

            “These your kids?” he asked, taking the glass from her.

            “Yep, that’s them, my pride and joy, they’re at a sleepover. Things too weird now? You want to leave?”

            “Oh, no, of course not, I think it’s real cool that you’re a mom, you just look too young to have kids that age, what are you? Like thirty?”

            “Not a polite question to ask a lady, but sure, let’s go with thirty.”

            “Sorry about that, a bit nervous I guess,” he said, taking a sip.

            “Don’t worry about it, truth be told, I am too. How do you like the wine?”

            “Umm, it’s different.”

            “Not what you normally drink?” she asked.

            “I don’t drink wine too much, just Boone’s Farm sometimes, ever had that? It’s pretty good.”

            She couldn’t hold back the laughter, it was loud, and not short, he looked hurt.

            “I’m going to go,” he said.

            “No, wait, I’m sorry.” She grabbed his arm and he stopped, their bodies almost touching, this was the closest they had ever been. “I don’t do this every day, I’m nervous, and if we’re being honest, probably a little drunk. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” The cologne wasn’t as strong now, or she was getting used to it, she found that she liked the way he smelled. She liked a lot of things about him, and couldn’t help but take them all in.

            “Alright, I’ll stay,” he said, taking her hand off of his arm and holding it.

            “Good, I’m glad. What do you say we both shut up and head to the couch?”        

            The couch was just a launch pad for the bedroom. Several more glasses of wine, tequila, and the shedding of inhibitions made them prime for takeoff. Their love making was nothing spectacular, a sweaty, drunken dance. They quickly passed out when it was over, their backs to each other, the moonlight pouring through the window, a blue hue on their debauchery.

Turn on the TV now.

            She didn’t have to find the right channel, they all had the same thing on. Reporters looking sorrowful, people frantically running in and out of a familiar looking building, pictures and names of the dead. Her world went numb as she read the scrolling ticker, tragic accident aboard the international space station, four astronauts confirmed dead.

            Her husband’s picture filled the screen, her phone buzzed in her hand, the man stirred in their bed.




Mathew A. Stirnaman is a former technical writer, now a student of creative writing in Orlando, Florida. When not writing, he is usually studying, spending time with his beloved wife and dog, or being way too forgiving about bad movies.