The Skeleton in my Closet
I drop my keys for the last time as I struggle to unlock my front door.
“It shouldn’t be this hard to open a damn door.”
My fists pound the hardwood, hoping Reginald would hear me and that my housemates were still out.
“Who is it?”
My hands move to my hips, and irritation is obvious on my face.
“The mailman. I’m here to have an affair with the wife of the house.”
“Oh, that would be me.” He says in a shrill, fake voice.
The click of the deadbolt sliding against the frame rings out before silence resumes. A laugh huffs from my throat as my anger disperses a little at his antics.
I pick up the bag of groceries I discarded earlier and make my way inside.
“Welcome home, Kiki.”
He stands in the flower print apron I bought at the corner store the other day. It looks cute on him and stands out against the pale ivory of his ribcage. His arm reaches out to grab the sack of food, and the other lifts to caress my cheek.
“Hi there, handsome, you’ve been cooking for me?”
“Yeah, I made your favorite. The roomies are out for the weekend, so I thought I’d be okay stepping into the kitchen.”
“You know your limits better than I do, so I’m not worried. Here, let me go get changed, and I’ll come back down.”
Pushing past him, I march up the narrow staircase to my room. The Victorian-style house I rent a space in is charming in its own ways, but having a live-in skeleton in my closet was not one of the bullet points on the amenities list. Most likely, no one has seen Reginald since he passed in that closet several centuries ago, but that didn’t explain why he chose me to reveal himself to. I guess I’m just better than everyone. I kick my shoes off with a snort. One time, when we were lying in bed, I asked him why me, but he just ran his fingers down my side, pressing small indentations into my skin. After that, I forgot all my questions.
“Kiki, love. Let me help you.”
Reginald stands behind me and places his hands on the hem of my shirt to remove it. I lift my arms above my head as the cotton fabric slides away from my body. He assists me with undressing, folding my clothes, and going to the closet to grab one of the comfortable dresses I like to wear when I get off the clock. My work clothing is restrictive, and he knows how much I enjoy wearing flowy material once I’m home.
The dress settles around my thighs, and I sigh at the relief of air hitting my legs after a long day of wearing thick pants. Reginald wraps his arms around my middle and rests his chin on my shoulder, the sharp protrusion of it only digging into my flesh the smallest bit.
“Miss me that much, babe?”
He rubs circles around my belly, slowly moving to massage my hips. I lean my head back as the sensation of the tension leaves my body.
“You should just find a work-from-home role. Then you’d never have to leave the house.” Or me.
He doesn’t say the last part out loud, but I know it’s there. He gets lonely and bored with me going away during the day.
“It’s not that easy. I’m not having a lot of luck with interviews.”
Turning around in his arms, I stare at his body, marveling at his very existence. It seems impossible that such a creature could talk, move, and think, having none of the components that make it possible in living beings. He isn’t alive, so I guess the rules don’t apply to him.
I run my fingers over his ribs, the bone cold and uneven. We hold each other until the downstairs teapot whistles, signaling the end of our peaceful moment.
“Come on, love, I made tea to drink with our dinner.”
He uncurls his spindly hand like a spider would, his way of asking to hold mine. I grab it and let him lead me out of our room.