Last night I slept in the middle of the bed.

When for years you reinforce a physical situation – that situation first mental, then emotional, third physical – your body becomes one betrayal after another. It molds like clay and erodes like granite.

He liked the left side, so I learned to like the right, even though before that I had no preference. I figured out quickly that living with someone, sharing an intimate space, meant small discoveries every day about willingness and stubbornness.

After it was all over, I would still sleep on the right side, prefer the right side, at home and away; in hotels; with lovers; alone.

My bed is not a “real” bed, even so; it is a futon, and its middle is awfully uncomfortable because of its construction. Sleeping in the middle of my futon is like sleeping on a starving giant’s spine.

If he preferred pepper, I would prefer salt. If he ate ham sandwiches, I’d have turkey. Paper for him, plastic for me. Black/white. On/off. Constantly I built the seesaw as I shifted my weight away. Every night I melted into the same side of the bed.

It takes a while for love to stale and crumble into dust, but just a moment for the dust to blow away. When you wake up in the middle of the bed and your neck aches and the cat is sleeping on your pins-and-needles foot, suddenly you realize that it’s clean, it’s all clean, and there is only yourself to answer to in the morning.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.