The cool, crisp morning air with that light touch of humidity danced across my skin, slipping its way underneath the bed sheets. We pulled the covers closer up our bodies, our heads wading above the blankets, then shifted face to face, like we always did first thing in the morning.
We’d been tired from working too many hours and not taking enough vacations, so you reluctantly pulled yourself out of bed, dragging your feet to the bathroom while I cocooned myself further into the blankets, if only to feel your leftover warmth. The water trickling from the showerhead hummed in the background, soothing me back into a brief deep slumber before a strange dream awoke me, startling me to life again. I always had those dreams when I napped, the ones that were much too lifelike. Don’t you remember?
I slipped myself out of your bed, searching the floor for my clothes with my hands. Your room could never stay clean, no matter how hard you tried, and each morning I played that game with myself — where were my clothes this time? They always found themselves in a different location, hiding under the bed or dangling from your desk chair. Falling asleep together after glasses of wine never did us much good, but I’ll bet on my life a piece of my clothing still remains in your room from those wine-soaked evenings together.
I could never fully dress myself, choosing to only wear an item or two. Who needed clothes anyway when I was with you? I shuffled my way down the stairs, reminding myself to look at the steps so I didn’t slip and fall again, but I never had much of a brain before a cup of coffee, did I?
Morning light warmed up your kitchen, inviting me in for coffee and breakfast. We weren’t much of a breakfast kind of couple. We had places to go and things to do. That morning felt like a morning to have a good breakfast, though. The body can sense when it will need more than the regular dosage. The body is predictable like that. Toast and jam, a little juice, but two cups of coffee that morning.
You joined me after your shower. I loved the way your hair fell into place when it was wet. Combing it would have been criminal, destroying its natural ability to shape your face. We sat across from one another, chewing away silently like we’d wake a ghost in the apartment. Day after day, we became quieter in the mornings, less conversations and more to-do lists and calendar invites. I wondered what you were thinking, but I couldn’t bring myself to ask. I’d had only one coffee. You smiled at me kindly, like you had something to say but hadn’t had enough coffee, either.
It was too beautiful that morning. Too peaceful. Too eerily quiet and reflective. When you smiled from the corner of your mouth that morning, that’s when I realized we weren’t us anymore. We were not morning people. We were not the kind of people who pulled themselves from bed and cheerily began their days. We were not the kind of people who could be seen before 8 a.m. But that morning, we were happy, and when did we start smiling in the mornings?
Maybe if I had had that second cup of coffee sooner, I would have realized it at that moment. I would have seen the sun shining a little too bright, your smile a little too futuristic, my clothes in their proper place, and the casually beautiful separation of two individuals beginning. I’d hate to call it cinematic, but wasn’t it? Wasn’t it too perfect, the moment in which we became ourselves again and no longer one unit? Wasn’t it full circle, the moment in which we learned our lessons from one another and could go on living our lives forever changed? You may not look back at that morning, realizing we weren’t us anymore, but when you find my undershirt beneath your bed, you’ll pull its dusty self out, remembering as I began my second cup of coffee and you smiled at me because you knew, deep down, we’d become morning people.