Sleeping With You In Someone Else’s Bed
I don’t remember having sex with you. Not once. Not even a little bit. This is strange considering we actually had sex quite often. You were my boyfriend, or something like it, and you would do things like come over at 9:30pm on a school night just to sleep next to me. I had no roommates so we could be as loud as we wanted to be. Were we ever loud though? Like I said, I can’t remember. I’m pretty sure we had sex at 5am when the sun started to spill into my windows and fill me with a sense of dread. I’m also pretty sure we had sex at 1:30pm after lunch on a Sunday afternoon. And we must’ve had sex when we were drunk at 4am and both just wanted to go to bed. I can’t be certain though. I can’t be certain of anything when it comes to you. You were like a colorless blob of air that filled my lungs during the fall months. You tiptoed your way into my life, only to sneak out the back door some months later. Looking back I realize I must’ve had gauze over my eyes while we dated. Why can’t I remember a single orgasm, a moan, a chest hair, a freckle? Anything?
That’s not entirely true actually. There was one thing I remember, one night that I will always hold on to. It was the night we spent together in someone else’s bed. It was Thanksgiving and I was staying in the childhood home of my best friend in Massachusetts. You told me you were two towns away and that’d you be on your way. You came so fast.
We drank in my best friend’s childhood home, we drank maybe too much. I left you downstairs with my friends and retired to the guest bedroom. God, I miss simple things like that—going to bed early and knowing that your lover will join you later. You’ll wake up an hour or two later by the force of their body coming into bed with you and you’ll pretend for a split second to be annoyed. “Ugh, thanks for waking me up. Goodnight.” But in reality, you’ll have never felt safer. You won’t be sleeping alone tonight. Just know that. Go to bed at 9pm or 5am, it doesn’t matter. You’ll be held by someone who cares about you no matter what.
You woke me up with your tongue. The air was freezing and I could see your breath bouncing off my chest. We were shivering and pulling our bodies closer together to generate heat. For months, you had behaved like a bland scoop of melted ice cream but something about you tonight was different. For the first time, it felt like you had a craving, like you needed to get more of me. I felt wanted by you for the first time ever and it was finally something worth remembering.
You know how when you’re in the middle of having great sex and you’re just both shocked by how good it is? That was us. After experiencing unremarkable sex—not good, not bad, just nothing—for months, it was like something finally clicked and we were in sync with each other. I kept thinking to myself, “Why now? Why this night? Where has this person been during our entire courtship? I really could’ve used this guy from the beginning!”
After we finished, I immediately knew that it was over, that whatever just occurred between us would never happen again. This wasn’t who you were. This was just you in someone else’s bed. This was you in Eastern Massachusetts on a chilly winter night trying to be someone I needed you to be. Any time we had sex after that, I would want you to be that person again but it wasn’t going to happen. I knew it, you knew it, the bed knew it. When you’re sleeping in someone else’s bed, it’s easy to become a different person. It’s like you inhabit another body and use it to express things you wouldn’t be able to anywhere else. If I wanted to keep things going and recapture the magic of Thanksgiving night, I would have to bang on the apartment doors of all my friends and ask if I could use their room for a few hours. I would need to plan trips to the Catskills, to Rhode Island, to my mom’s house in California, just so I could experience all of you. That obviously wasn’t go to work. If you needed a foreign bed in order to be someone I adored, then you were going to have to tiptoe out that back door and leave me behind. And you did. One day you were gone and it felt like, for the first time in a long time, the right decision was made. It’s been two years and a lot of sex later since we ended things. I don’t remember much about you, don’t remember how we even managed to stay together for so long, but the night we had in someone else’s bed was enough. It was enough for me to remember you forever.
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I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”
To begin, I got totally screwed over in the dental genes department. I was born with a pretty severe overbite and a mouth that was too small.