(Drabbles) – Our Bed – 673 words

({A/N}: Drabbles are basically the writer’s catch-all word for shorter pieces of writing. My definition is pieces of my writing that are very very unpolished and don’t quite fit the short story category. I’ve written more than a few over the years, but the last few months have actually let me turn out some that actually aren’t too terrible to read. My drabbles tend to find themselves between narrative fiction and poetry- the latter of which I’m less than sparkly with. Every writing book I’ve ever read tells me to “go for the jugular”, and well, drabbles are my chance at that. Make sure to check the guide if you’d like content warnings.)

It’s harder to sleep in my bed now.  It used to be our bed, even if we never spent a whole night in it.  It took three washes of the sheets to really get every trace of her out.  The smell of her sweat, her body.  The smell of her shampoo.  The tiny stains of a hundred stories— sweat and chocolate and blood and worse.  Fiber-thin strands of dirty blonde hair that were still tangled in between sheets and my hoodies and in pillowcases.  Now the sheets are as clean and empty as the bed feels.  Now the bed only smells of detergent, laundry sheets, and the cold sweat of the nightmares that bring me awake with an anxiety attack raging in my chest.

I’m having more trouble washing out the memories.  I still remember how she felt in my arms— talking and twitching in her sleep.  I would murmur sweet nothing’s I’ve said a thousand times.  And in those moments I would feel a sense of rightness, a surety that I wouldn’t lose that.  I believed her promises, her own empty words.  We would talk about a future where we had our own place to be vulnerable and open: not just in the hushed, secret silence of my bedroom.

I still see her with me, her fingers tight in my hair, her mouth soft and warm against mine.  I still see myself touching her like she was the entire world because she was.  She was a powerful, fiery goddess of beauty that saw something in myself that I couldn’t even see myself.  The one thing I could always look at when my anxiety pulled at me.  The one thing I could turn to that I could say was “mine” and she could whisper back an “always” that sent lightning down my spine.

I still see her above me, her hair tousled and mussed by my fingers, falling down one side of her head as a cocky smile reached her lips.  I remember being melted putty in her hands.  She knew the words or places to turn me to ash.    I remember turning her to putty with my lips against her skin, my hands on her body.  I remember the air in the room turning hot with our breath.

I remember the sweaty, skin on skin naps that pulled me asleep faster than I ever could by myself.  I remember sleeping better in those half hours or hours than in entire nights.  I remember the groggy, clumsy kisses I gave her after the alarm woke me.  I remember the giggly, smiley amongst sweaty soreness as we found clothes and belongings.

I don’t know what I have to do to wash the bed of it.  No matter how little or how much I sleep, I can’t wash the ghosts of us from my sheets.

I can’t be free from the New Year’s kiss or the kisses that burned with flavored vodka and rum.  I can’t forget the mornings I picked her up early in the morning just for a chance to sleep beside her in our bed for a few hours.  I can’t forget our first kiss sitting on the edge of it, our awkwardness doing nothing to dampen the inferno of it.  I can’t forget the hundred episodes of TV or dozen movies or whispered, hopeful conversations.  I can’t forget the smiles and kisses and love that used to be here.

Now all that’s left are the ghosts and me sitting on the floor beside my open window, desperately trying to forget enough just so that I can remember to breathe.

And at night, when I can’t sleep and my mind summons up the memory of her in my arms, the ghost of her touch is sharp and hollow.  Her ghost doesn’t leave as quickly as she did, but it always does.  And then I try to imagine holding someone who won’t leave but I can’t.  I’m lost.

Sometimes places are ruined by people who aren’t even there.

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