the first night





The first night I slept in Tom’s bed under the tall oaks, I woke at three in the morning. It took me a moment to figure out where I was. An unfamiliar land mass was sleeping beside me; a foreign dog snuffled in her dream-sleep on the floor.


I sat up and longed for home. I was exhausted from a long divorce, and unmoored from the rupture. I longed for my own bed, and for my children, who weren’t even at home, because they were with their father. This wasn’t my home, or man, or family, and I began to worry that trying this had maybe been a terrible mistake.

I slipped out of the covers and crept down the hall to the guest room. I closed the door behind me as quietly as I could, and felt around for the bed in the dark. When I hit the edge, I crawled onto the mattress, pulled back the sheet and comforter, and climbed in. I curled onto my side, and pulled a pillow to my chest for comfort.

A few minutes later, I heard the door open. Tom slid into the bed. He inched the warm front of his smooth body up to the cool back of mine, and lay his arm across my hip. His ancient dog shuffled in, too. She circled, stiff from sleep, lumbered to the floor, and sighed. Without a word being said, we all fell asleep until morning.