My bed feels both like freedom and loneliness swirled into one giant cocktail. I sip it in an attempt to numb my emotions – but I still feel anyway. I wash all my sheets to delete any lingering traces of you, and yet my mattress can’t seem to forget your shape. So I fill the hole with a new body every night, but they don’t fit the way your body did with mine.
I fall asleep wondering if your fists grip the sheets the same way I do when I wake up each morning because I forget you are no longer there to hold on to. I turn my head so you can kiss me goodnight but I am greeted by the darkness. It swallows me up greedily, and I drown in my ocean of tears in its veil.
In the morning, I live for that one split second of bliss – where I forget you are no longer beside me, and you never will be again. When my eyes break open to the sunlight caressing my face, my hair, my body and the warmth feels like your hands. I reach out to touch you, but I am met with the cold emptiness of your side, and then I am reminded.
Some nights, I wake up from a nightmare only to realize, I was better off in my dreams. I slide my phone out from under my pillow, and the bright screen blinds me for a moment, allowing me to reconsider. But I swipe right anyway, and the phone unlocks. I look at photographs, I reread old texts, and then I type something out. My finger hovers over the send button. I must have strong index muscles now because my finger never comes down.
Some nights, I wake up from a dream only to realize it will stay as just that. And I will tell myself to go back to sleep because only in my dreams will I be able to touch you again, will I be able to hear your voice say my name again – just one more time.
Some nights, I mix a glass of that burning, vile liquid I told you I never liked, with a pill or two. I wake up with a pounding headache and more tired than I was the night before, but at least that distracts me from my breaking heart.
Some nights, I don’t even sleep in my own bed in an attempt to find someone else who will kiss me goodnight. And they kiss me, but it’s never for a goodnight, just a good night.
I bought myself new sheets. They’re silky and soft – I think you’d love them. I bought myself a thicker duvet. It keeps me warm. I bought myself candles. And I light them before I go to sleep, so I fall asleep to smells that aren’t you. When I wake up from nightmares, I laugh at the absurdity of my imagination. When I wake up from dreams, I allow myself to bask in the bliss. Most nights, I no longer fall asleep to thoughts of you. Most nights, I no longer wake up wishing you were by my side. Most nights, I fill the hole with people that love me.
I sleep in the middle of the bed now.