Just keeping the brain flexible. Short story in the works.
When I woke up again, the sheets on the other side of the bed were cool. The room was quiet, yellow ambiance from the lights outside pouring in through the slats in the venetian blinds. Bamboo bedroom, the Ikea dream. I could see it all from my pillow. Bargain-bin lamp shade. Television furniture. White curtains. The fake plant in the corner next to the dresser that matched everything else. The familiar scent was missing, replaced with a cool breeze that only served to remind me how cold it was under the blanket alone.
I could get used to her being there. I wanted to get used to it, like it was the only thing I needed, but I didn’t because it was the one thing I really couldn’t have. I felt so ambivalent.
I glanced at the clock. Early morning. Had to get up in four hours. I couldn’t stand thinking about that last weekend. She flew out for three days and it seemed like we only had just enough time to say hello before she was heading back to Vermont.
The worst part about waking up was remembering that when I turned over, there was no one to hold. Months of being away, sleeping alone, and it felt immediately natural to have her between the sheets with me again. Nothing foreign about it. Nothing uncomfortable about cracking my eyes open at four a.m. and finding someone there. Now my four a.m. moment was empty, like my discount bedroom.