She heard his spurs jingle in the darkness as he came into the room where she lay, and she opened her eyes, but with no moon or starlight broaching her draped window, she did not expect to see him. Nevertheless, she knew her husband by the odors he brought with him into the room: the musty smell of dust, the pungence of sweat and leather, the hint of tobacco.
A match flared, and he lit the candle on the washstand. Its sputtering flicker lighted the angles and planes of his face, his eyes shaded by the wide brimmed hat he hardly ever removed.
Then he unbuckled the gun belt, and coming between her and the light, he fastened it around the near bedpost. His silhouette stretched long and lean as he paused for a moment, then turned, sat on the bed, and pulled off his boots. They hit the wooden floor, one at a time, with the combined music of bell and drum, then he stood once more and crossed the room to the window.
She supposed he changed his mind about looking out, for he turned before touching the drape, and removed his vest. He moved lazily across the room and hung it on a peg, then he unbuttoned his shirt, pulled the tail free from his jeans, slid the sleeves from his arms, and hung the shirt over the vest.
The candlelight reflecting off his chest seemed to light a glow within her, and she wondered if he was really taking as long as it seemed. Her eyes flicked up to his face and caught his half smile, almost sardonic.
Then he bent over and blew out the light. She heard his jeans fall to the floor as he threw them over his boots, and he was beside her; his warmth and his smell and his strength were there for her to love.
She put out her hand and took the hat from his head. As she placed it on the bedpost over his gun belt she whispered, “First thing on and last thing off, but you don’t wear it in our bed!”
Copyright 1990 Marsha Ward
A piece this short is oftentimes called "flash fiction." Have you read, or written, any flash fiction? If you've published any, where can we find it?