The bed I’ve been sleeping in is larger than our old bed. I can sprawl on my stomach, spread all my papers out over the bedspread, line up a hundred pens and piles of books and my folders and the remote control, my messenger bag and my cellphone. When I go to sleep, I just push everything over, pull down a corner of the comforter and crawl in. I drop my glasses on the pillow beside me, rather than reach all the way over to the night table.

In the morning, when I come back out into the bedroom with a toothbrush in my mouth and a can of Diet Pepsi in my hand, I notice that it looks as if the bed hasn’t even been slept in. It looks like someone’s rumpled the blankets, just a bit on one side. As if someone had, maybe, sat for a moment on the edge of the bed. Dented the pillow with an elbow. But not as if someone had been lying there.

It looks as if I was never there.

I have not been able to reclaim the opposite side of the bed.

Sometimes it’s cold, even with the comforter. I feel myself stretch my
back toward the body heat that isn’t there. I want to pull his arm
around me, and have his skin, always hot, sometimes too hot, next to
mine. I want to turn, and press my face to his back and whisper against
his neck. Tell him to give me a bedtime story.

It’s the hardest at night. It’s hard to turn off the light. Harder to
turn off the television. I try to drift off with it on—the noise,
and the light. The feeling that I’m falling asleep just waiting for him
to come home from another late night at work.

I wake up in the middle of the night, sometimes, with my throat full of tears and there is no soft voice asking if I’m okay.

7 Replies to “night”

  1. Oh Anne. This choked me up. Even a breakup that isn’t ugly, and happens for good and valid reasons, and that you know was the right choice for you, will leave you sad. Because something–or someone, rather–that was there no longer is. That’s a big change. And it always takes adjustment.

    I left an unhappy marriage but at the beginning I still had a hard time at night. The known was gone. I mean, it was definitely the right move for me. But what had been known (for eleven years!) was no longer. And sometimes even a less-than-happy known seems better than the unknown. Particularly at night.

    But after a while I started taking up the whole bed, always waking up sprawled out in the middle, hugging all the pillows. And then when I moved in with my new love, four years ago, I had to learn how to share a bed all over again.

    It’s hard, but try to embrace this time.

    And, you know, I always suspected you and I were sisters—diet soda in the morning, eh? I’m just so disappointed to hear that it’s Pepsi. I’m a first-thing-in-the-morning-diet-Coke-chugger. I abhor Pepsi.
    But I still love you.
    And you’re still pretty ;)

  2. Yeah, you got the water works going on here too. I am possibly facing a seperation from my husband right now, so I’m totally feeling you.

    I wish I could fly across the states and give you a big hug.

  3. I’m going through a breakup right now — a non-ugly, “we’re getting along better than ever juts as friends” breakup, a mutual, breakup…

    …but this is the hardest part. I miss the constant connection — physical and emotional — with my best friend…

    I’m choking back tears just typing this.

    Simpatico, my friend,

  4. After lurking on this site for ages, I’m finally commenting – because you made me cry. Again. (Thanks a heap.)
    I too cannot reclaim my bed. A five-year relationship ended (five years?! That’s 20% of my life!) and all of a sudden I’m sleeping on eighteen inches of a queen-sized bed – about as wide as a keyboard. The bed fills the room. And me, I’d love to fill the bed… but I can’t. It means something to feel as if you logically only get half the bed (or in my case, a sliver of the bed) because there’s supposed to be another person there. Ouch, ouch, ouch.
    Anne, I wish I could meet you and hug you and also wail for a while over a chocolate martini. In the meantime… chin up. Fo’ reals.

  5. We’ve all been there, indeed. For me, the breakup was long ago enough that I no longer specifically imagine HIS voice asking if I’m okay, but after two years apart, and most of that time single, and none of it seriously involved again, I still sleep on half the bed. These days I yearn for the one who will fill it up next, the right one, THE one, and I wonder when he’ll come. And though I haven’t met him yet, I miss him.

    Beautifully written, Anne.

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