In Bed With Claire Rudy Foster

My bed. His bed. Our bed.

Like a coward, I default to the bed, as though the definite article was a wide, white neutral zone where our relationship didn’t matter. Which side of the bed do you want? I won’t sleep on the couch, I want to sleep on the bed. It’s different than saying, I want to sleep in your bed.

Because I know myself, and I know two things:

Your bed is nice, but every night I spend in it makes me wish it was our bed.

Your bed is my favorite place, but I am not the first girl to feel that way.

When I got together with Charlie, I knew that his bed was the place I wanted to be. The covers were grey and industrially rough. Under the comforter, he had a soft, slightly furry blanket instead of a bottom sheet. The pillows were dented as punching bags and my head sank into them as he lay over me, covering me, whispering in my ear.

He was still hurting from the last girl who’d lain on those pillows. I could feel it, could practically smell her on the sheets. It was his bed, and it was their bed. A few months into the relationship, he moved the furniture in his bedroom and under the bed, his bed, was a red-gold hair, curled like a broken violin string. I picked it up and wondered what to do. I felt like I knew everything about her and it made me sick when I realized how present she was, her skin’s oils on the headboard, her sweat soaked into the mattress.

I was jealous.

I wanted his bed to be our bed so badly, and it felt like a weakness to want it. I imagined the many girls who’d slept there, the secrets exchanged before sleep, the sighs and sudden exclamations of sex. I was one of them, now, and I thought of those girls when he told me about them. They rotated like stars in his memory, each one special, shining, and I hoped that there would be no past tense for me and him. The us came together slowly.

This morning, the alarm clock flipped on and its artificial sunlight bulb slowly ticked up, brighter and brighter. The first thing I saw was Charlie’s ear, and his cheek, pink from sleep and rough, needing a shave. I kissed that spot, and he growled like a bear and reached for me.

Could I possibly love him more? No, I thought. I could not possibly love him more.

I’m yours, he tells me. You’re mine.

We have a future, I think. And, like our bed, it is big enough for him and me, just him and me for always.

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