I always sleep on my side. A solo spoon uninhibited yet nestled in the freedom and warmth of my own body.
Early Monday morning, I woke with a gasp and threw the clammy, almost suffocating arms of a strange body off of mine as I jolted up.
Stark eggshell walls towered from the dark. The blank confines loomed inward with the judgement of a stacked jury or the immobilizing silence of sanitized hospital waiting rooms.
Nauseous and delirious, I felt I had been here before. Deja vu like a dream sequence when the familiarity of a place strikes at your core but the picture is warped. I felt I had been here before but, not quite here. Somewhere I recognized that fact, but my heart punched at my every nerve. It punched at my reality and insisted that history was repeating itself. It’s sinister whisper echoed, you let yourself fall back into the trap. He’s back. You’re back there.
My frenzied gaze narrowed and scanned the dark. I searched through night, desperately waiting for my eyes to adjust to the blackness. I scrutinized the details of the room. I focused in on the features that emphasized its differences from that room where I spent so many hours under his control, estranged from my own home and my own life. I grasped at the navy blue comforter on the bed and sought out the white stripes. White stripes were absent on the navy blue comforter on that bed where I had lied helplessly, exhausted on my back after telling him I wanted to be done and it hurt, and asking him to stop yet the thrusts continued.
“What’s wrong? Are you okay?” The new man frantically asked me with furrowed brows. I flinched away from his comforting hand reaching for my shoulder.
Then I turned towards him and wrapped my hands around his face. I stared at his features. Narrower nose. Wider eyes. Curly hair. I rubbed the scruff on his jaw line and took a deep breath. Not him. Not there. Not back then. You’re here.
“I’m okay now.” I told him.
I hesitated but he searched my eyes for understanding, “I’m sorry. That was so unexpected. I haven’t slept in someone else’s bed in this town in a while. I thought I was somewhere else. With someone else…”
I paused, “Who treated me badly. But I’m not and everything is okay.”
The concern remained on his face, but his eyes widened sympathetically.
I managed a smile and nodded. “I just need some space. I needed to place myself here. I’m okay now.”
“Okay,” he kissed my cheek, and I lay back down. He gave me space. He rubbed my back before closing his eyes and effortlessly drifting back to sleep.
I spent some time searching the room, breathing, and repeating, Not him. Not there. Not back then. You’re here.
Not him. Not there. Not back then. You’re here.
That was more than a year ago.
He’s long gone.
You’re safe. You’re here.
I fell asleep and the next time I woke up, I was curled into my own body, uninhibited, and nestled freely in a space shared by two people. I rolled over and smiled at the sleeping man beside me. His dreamy eyes fluttered and the corner of his mouth inched up on the left side. I beamed and planted a kiss on his prickly cheek.
It’s a new day, and you’re living in the present. Here.