I still sleep on my side of the bed, even though this whole bed, purchased from Amazon and skillfully put together step-by-step by me, was mine before you and became mine again after you died. I still strictly keep to my side. Sometimes I even pretend that you’re asleep on the couch, and that you’ll crawl into bed in a few hours when you wake up and realize what time it is, just like you used to do when you had a few too many. Sometimes this helps me get through the night, and sometimes I just annoy myself with it and shove your pillows off in a spiteful temper tantrum.
This is especially ridiculous because while you were alive, I loved when you got up before me and I could stretch out and obnoxiously take over the whole queen-sized. After your death, I became extra concerned about making sure your space is available, as if you could decide to come and lie next to me. I’d do anything to feel your warmth on your side again. Now when I reach over, the sheets are cold.
I still make a whole pot of coffee in the morning, because, you know, coffee and water is a really complicated recipe to cut in half. And then I shamefully pour half of it down the drain because drinking any more than that would probably send me into an arrhythmia.
I still have about half a case of Miller Lite in my fridge, even though it tastes like watered-down piss and I won’t ever touch it. This is the same dozen-or-so beers that I boxed up and moved from our old apartment to my new one. I can’t bring myself to throw them away, because you would have called that alcohol abuse and Miller Lite was your favorite, so I just keep them in the bottom drawer of my fridge and offer them to my friends who also have crappy taste in beer.
I bitch up a storm every time I have to clean these damn fish tanks without you. I can’t help but think about how much you enjoyed fish-keeping while slightly green water is sloshing out of the bucket and throughout my apartment as I run from the tank to the tub about a thousand times. Why did you enjoy this again?
And as many times as I complained about you smoking in my truck… I really miss that smell when I climb inside.
It sucks how much we learn to appreciate someone after they are ripped away from us. We get so used to sharing our space with another person… those old habits die hard.
I started letting another man sleep on your side of the bed. He is a good man with a heart of gold and pretty much everything any girl could ask for. He lets me talk about you all the time and knows very much about you. He knows about my silly coping methods and he is patient and kind about my grieving process. And he is fully aware that it was your side of the bed, but he was brave enough to try to fill it. He opened his heart to let me in, fully aware of the train wreck that is my life and fully willing to put time and effort into helping me. For a little while I thought maybe he was a silver lining… but I couldn’t reciprocate his selfless love. I would wake up in the middle of the night and fill with rage because he was sleeping in YOUR spot, and I’d sneak out onto the couch and spend the rest of the night there… in my own home; like some kind of petty self-punishment. How could I let another guy sleep in your spot!? But then the next night I would try again. I want to love… but I still love you too much… and that makes me so damn angry because you never get to receive that love so it’s just going to waste.
I broke his heart because I wasn’t ready to allow mine to feel whole again. And I removed that comforting company from my own life because I didn’t want to lead him on. It’s not fair to either of us, but there’s nothing I can do about it.
For now, your side of the bed will remain empty, and I’ll still sleep on my side. I’ll keep judging the Miller Lite drinkers for their poor taste. The fish tanks are turning green again. And I’ll try to enjoy the clean air in my truck.