I wake up in bed, alone. Eyes closed, I stretch out my legs, turning my ankles till they pop. I roll to the right and blink. And blink. Confusion. I’m in the big bedroom again. I sit up in our sprawling king-sized bed, rumpled brown flannel sheets messy around me. I’m in the middle- I must’ve been snuggled tight up against you in the night…
I put my head in my hands and a huge sob comes up like vomit. Like panic. I heave. Oh God, it was a dream, just a dream… just a horrible nightmare. I shake.
Then I smell coffee.
I stand up and bend to pick up my socks, discarded in the night next to the bed. I wake the dog and call her to follow me. I grab my very unsexy plaid robe, wrap it around me and, walking past the small bedroom where our boys still lay sleeping in their bunkbeds, I creak down the stairs to find you.
There you are in the kitchen. Your olive green hoodie on, hood up over your head… phone in one hand and electric kettle in the other… pouring steaming water over dark fragrant grounds. Morning ritual.
I walk up behind you and press myself into your back, wrapping my arms around you and breathing deeply, as if I can hold you in my lungs and keep you. Lord, I love this man. You turn in my embrace and envelop me, resting your head on mine. You kiss me. I choke on the flashbacks- the dream still so real it seems like it could almost find me here.
But you are here and so is the coffee and you are stepping on my toe and my neck hurts a little standing like this. So this must be reality.
We watch together as the last of the hot liquid slowly drains through the grounds. You lift the ceramic pour-over cone and set it in the sink. I stand passive, taking in every second. You add a bit of butter to our cups, a squirt of oil, some cream, a splash of hot coffee and then you go to work with the electric whisk. Making the magic happen. More coffee and a dash of cinnamon and BAM. You hand me a perfect cup of happiness. Our eyes meet over our steaming mugs and we share a conspiratorial smile. We love this moment. We love our lives. We love each other.
In the living room we plop into our places. The grooves on our couch that take on the shape of us- your big shape, my medium shape. Never mind that the couch is not that old and probably shouldn’t show this much wear so soon. It’s comfy and right now with the angled sunlight streaming across the living room it is gorgeous. Everything is gorgeous, even our old cat with her janky crooked tail… she is made new again in the glistening golden light.
I almost can’t tell you what I dreamed, but I do. I tell you about the text I intercepted from another woman saying she would like to get to know you better outside of kink. I tell you about how I screwed up the courage to call her- my heart pounding in my ears- and how she told me about the meetings you’d arranged together. The ads you had placed for hookups. The screenshots she’d sent me of your conversations.
I tell you that, in my dream, you confessed to it all because there was no denying it. That I told you to leave and you left. That I tried to stay composed but in the end I fell apart- I screamed and cried and begged and you became cold and mocking and turned against me in my agony. That I texted you that I wanted to die without you but you stopped answering my texts. That you told me you wanted a “parenting plan” to divide our children into pieces… this much time with you… this much with me… That you left our family and didn’t even try to fight for us, as if you’d had one foot out the door all along…
You take my cup from my hands and set it next to yours on our little wooden coffee table, and you scoop me into your lap. You hold me so tight, rocking just a little. I am warm. I am safe. I am loved. You tell me that we are always. We are it. God, I love this man. You rock me. We sit like that for a long time, with the coffee and the sunlight and the warm. It feels so good and I start to drift back to sleep…
I wake up in bed, alone. Eyes closed, I stretch out my legs, turning my ankles till they pop. I roll to the right and blink. And blink. I am in the small bedroom. I am in the new queen bed, the one I cut our king memory foam topper to fit, surrounded by my new blue and green floral sheets. My eyes rest on the blue thrift store lamp I bought to go on the low dresser because the other one wouldn’t fit under the shelves in here. The house is cold. There is no coffee brewing.
I have been there and I promise that once you get to your late 40s or even 50s, the world starts to look a lot different. You’ve collected pain and heartbreak, tragedy and loss, and you start to understand the pessimism that plagues your age group... and yet, the world also looks brighter, calmer, and things start to make a lot more sense. You realize the world is dominated by hormones and the need for connection, and now you wake up feeling like you are watching a play unfold before you. You realize it’s always been about just you - even if you’ve had children - and now is the time to find beauty and joy in every moment that you can. Hugs my friend. I just discovered your channel recently and I love it. Thanks for being you.
This reminds me of when my fiancée and I first started dating. He was poly, I was not, but I was willing to give it a try. For four years my anxiety grew as I tried to be something I wasn’t. Then one day he told me he wanted to be monogamous. It was like a deep breath I had been unable to take for four years, not knowing I hadn’t been breathing. Everything changed. The beauty of our relationship started to unfold in ways we never knew love could. My anxiety is gone now, like the heaviest weight lifted from my shoulders. We continue to grow in joy and laughter completely satisfied with one another. Everyday is like a tiny miracle.
This piece is so sad to me and so familiar. Peace be with you.