You Only Loved Me In My Sleep

woman asleep
Hernan Sanchez

When I think back on our relationship – and I call it that because sleeping with someone for three years is definitely not nothing – there are so many questions I wish I had just asked you in the moment. I’m often mad at myself for not saying what was right on the tip of my tongue but I know now that I was just too scared to tarnish those moments that have now become nothing more than bittersweet memories of what we were. Delusions maybe, but bittersweet nonetheless.

I play back all the times you were loving and sweet and tender, as if playing only those memories can erase all the times that you were careless and bitter and harsh. But I don’t want to remember you, or us, as careless or bitter. If I do that I will never forgive myself for letting you affect me so deeply.

I want to remember the night of my birthday when all my friends were busy and you took me out to make me feel better. I want to remember meeting your friends that night and drinking and laughing and thinking that finally, just maybe, we were becoming real. I want to remember how we got home and were both stupidly drunk and tired. I want to remember that you kissed me and spooned me all night and how I thought it was the best birthday I had ever had.

I wanted to ask you that night if you loved me but I was scared and you were asleep.

I want to remember the night you tossed and turned endlessly as I lay wide-awake by your side. I want to remember how your hand reached out suddenly, almost violently, and grabbed mine. I want to remember how you didn’t toss or turn anymore and how I drifted to sleep knowing I was holding your heart in my hand.

I wanted to tell you the next morning how you had reached out for me but I was scared then too, and you were awake.

I want to remember the morning you had to leave early for work. I heard you tiptoeing, to no avail, around your bedroom getting dressed. I want to remember how I pretended that you hadn’t woken me as I lay still in the silent bed. I want to remember how you, thinking I was fast asleep, kissed me on my shoulder before you left.

I want to ask you now why you did that but I know you won’t answer me.

Because I am awake now and you only loved me in my sleep. TC mark

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