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Him (A Short Story)

The gentle sound of bells beckoned her to wake up. She never liked loud alarm clocks and had purposely chosen something gentle and comforting to get her started on her day.

She pulled the covers up around her body and instinctively ran her free hand over the empty place in her bed. His spot. It wasn’t warm from where he had slept all night. It didn’t carry the scent of the body wash he liked to use. There was no indentation in his pillow or sheets wrinkled from his body weight. It was just a space. An empty space.

She turned on her side and stared over at the spot. His spot. She wasn’t sad or weepy or any of the things one was supposed to be following the conclusion of a relationship.

As she traced her finger along the stitching on his pillow, she knew they had made the right decision to end things. Actually, they made official what had already happened a long time ago. Far too long they had simply been roommates, caring roommates, but roommates nonetheless.

She missed him. Not the him that was there in the latter part of their relationship, but the him from the early days. She missed the him who came home after a long day at work and wrapped his arms around her, holding her as if she was the most precious person in his life, as the stress of both their days melted from that embrace.

She missed the him whose kisses tasted like cinnamon flavored coffee in the mornings. With those kisses often leading to both of them being late for work.

She missed the him who slept with one arm and one leg draped across her body, even in the summer when it would get hot in their charming but poorly insulated apartment. But she never minded. His nighttime embrace felt like love, caring, and all the good things relationships are supposed to be made of.

What she didn’t miss was the loneliness she had been feeling for a long time, the kind of loneliness that’s not supposed to exist in a relationship. She didn’t miss the awkward silence when they shared a meal, their morning coffee, or the bed where they used to spend hours on end talking about everything and nothing, and dreaming about one day.

But those days were gone, all of them, the good ones and the not so good ones. There was no more him. No more kisses. Nor more embraces. No more dreaming. No comforting warmth from his body warming their bed and her body. No more him.

As she swung her legs over the side of the bed. She looked up to see the faintest light of the new day. A day that held promise and would be whatever she needed and wanted it to be. She smiled. It was going to be a good day because it was all up to her.

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