Flash Fiction/Short Story: The Pillow

The Pillow

Tonight she lies alone on this bed. For the nineteen years that she has slept in it, never has it felt this hard. Now that he is gone, she notices that it is not a warm bed. It is unwelcoming. No position is comfortable. She lies on her side and her thigh cramps. She turns and lies on her back and her neck hurts. Above her the fan spins, slowly, lazily. It was never much good, never did what it was supposed to, especially when they made love. They would have to open the windows those nights. The breeze would rush in, the sheer white flimsy curtains would dance and play, his taut back would be cold under her fingers.

She turns the other way, the weight of her desolate body sinking deeper into the bed. Is sorrow dense and heavy? Because she can feel every inch of her own skin, every ounce of her flesh, every cell untouched and unloved. She was weightless when he was here beside her. She was ethereal then.

She reaches out for his pillow. He forgot to take it with him when he left. It has known him longer than she has. He would wrap his arm around it and rest his cheek on it. Then he would fall asleep. It knows his dreams.

It is lumpy and worn, hollow in places, like their relationship was. She runs her hands over it and she can feel the unevenness, the absolute non symmetry of it. She lowers her face and inhales its scent deeply. It is him. Twenty years worth of him in this unruly misshapen thing.

It smells of his aftershave, musky and manly. She picks up a hint of his soap, the bar he used instead of liquid. He is the only person she knows of who still uses a bar of soap, only because it is less wasteful.

He used to say nothing should ever be wasted. She can’t help but think of the years she has given him, did they count? Years that are meaningless now, lost forever.

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