The small antique Seth Thomas clock read 6:02. It looked quaint next to the sheen of the fifteen-inch Mac Powerbook laptop that sat in front of Laura Bush. Laura was checking her email. George was doing a single Windsor knot with his red and black striped tie. George finished his early morning bike ride a tad late, but he was not about to rush. He had been rushing from appearance to appearance in a whirlwind the last few days, and he was going to take this moment to slow down. So he stood at the gold-leaf oval mirror in the White House bedroom they had claimed as their own.
George never felt at home in this bedroom. It always felt like he was in a hotel, with room service. He couldn’t go down to the kitchen in his underwear and make scrambled eggs and toast. He had to dress to leave his bedroom, and there were always people in the house, strangers, government employees and civil servants.
“George, when was the last time you said you were sorry to me?” asked Laura as she was pecking the keyboard.
“I don’t know sweets. Yeah, wait, I know. Last week when I used the ‘f’ word. I said I was sorry. Remember?” George finished his Windsor knot and turned to look at Laura.
“Yes. I remember. Can you think of another time?”
George located his blue blazer and lifted it off the back of an upholstered chair.
“Laura, you must be thinking of something in particular. What is it sweets?” said George as he put his arms in the blazer.
“This morning. You awoke late, and your first words to me were ‘I’m sorry’, and you hopped out of bed and went for your bike ride. You apologized to me for waking up late.”
“Did I? Well, I guess I did. Sorry about that?” said George.
“See, there you go again. Are you apologizing for saying your sorry, or are you apologizing again for waking up late?” Laura was now looking at George over the top of her half-eye reading glasses.
“Geee, I guess I’m apologizing again for waking up late. I hardly think I would apologize for saying I was sorry. That would be dumb.” George was smiling at his wife, who he believed was the wisest person in his life, a power she rarely abused.
“You know, when you say you’re sorry, I hear ‘I love you,’” said Laura.
George walked up to her and kissed her on the lips. A long one.
“I do love you.”
George then walked to the bedroom door and left, closing it from behind. Laura went back to her Mac Powerbook and surfed to Google. She typed in another ‘f’ word: ‘failure.’ She then clicked ‘I’m Feeling Lucky,’ the link that directs the Google user to just one page. Google sent Laura to her husband’s biography on the official White House website. She stared at the screen for a moment, and then leaned back in the chair and closed her eyes, thinking of her father-in-law, who had called her yesterday with this internet tip.