Everything Is Different Now


I live for bedtime. During these few blissful hours of intermittent unconsciousness and insomnia, we touch. Sometimes we both bend away from the middle toward our respective edges of the queen-sized bed and our butts gently rest against each other, like a greater-than and less-than sign that don’t know that they don’t belong together.

“What if I farted and it went up your butt? It’d be like a fart kiss! Isn’t that so romantic?” I giggled. I felt so adult staying at a hotel with you in New Orleans, almost too adult, so I had to temper the gravity of what this trip meant with something as silly as a fart kiss.

Sometimes you face away from me and I lie toward you, a few inches behind, stroking the slope of your torso, sensing the change in your shape and firmness since you started working out. You feel so defined and certain, with smooth skin I can’t keep my hands off. I can feel our differences – your tan, warmth, strength against my pastiness, chill, doughiness. You’re a heavy sleeper, and you stir once, but don’t wake up.

The best is when I face away and you snuggle up tight, tossing your arm around the top of me out of habit so I can grab your hand under my chin. I take your thumb with my whole, tiny fist, and I feel completely enveloped and safe.

You dubbed our daily ritual cuddling “morning ’nuggs,” and it was the very best part of my day. Those five, ten minutes where I could be a blanket over your chest and stroke the soft stubble on your cheeks.

On the surface, it doesn’t feel too different from two days ago, back when we were still a couple. We still share a bed and go about our daily rituals. You strut into the bedroom where I have sequestered myself, completely naked from the shower. I do our laundry, and you do the dishes. But you are no longer mine. These stolen moments of contact are no longer my right. I can no longer ask for your time, attention, or affection. And this, this semblance of sameness, is what hurts the most. And I wait for bedtime, until I once again can feel your touch.

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image – plaits