A fictional re-accounting of something that I remember from a long time ago
She gradually awakens in the pre-dawn darkness as he stirs slightly, and she smiles as she feels the comforting and familiar weight of him splayed across her, his head nestled under her chin. She reaches up and begins to absently stoke his hair when it hits her like a thunderbolt and she remembers what happened. This is all wrong. This is not HIM. This is not the one she has grown to love and cherish. This is a feeble imposter, and the shallow, shadow of a man, laying here now, has the temerity to think that he could even begin to fill the shoes of the one she would have given almost anything for. She has allowed this fool into her bed and now he lays here sleeping, as though it was his right to do so.
It's not his really fault, she thinks. I was the one who asked him here and it was only at my insistence that he stayed. Sweet, kind, and gentle, he tried his best to “be there” when she called. Fawning on her like a modern day courtier, he tried to assuage the pain of her loss by making her laugh, think, and in his own lopsided way did his best to see to it that everything was “just so”. There was even a brief moment, when they were making love that she considered that there might be a faint spark between them, but his sexual efforts were as inexpert and clumsy, as they were in earnest. Even after he had spent himself, he had tried vainly to please her until they both collapsed in frustrated exhaustion.
Now, in the aftermath of a tumultuous night, the only thing she could focus on was the one who was no longer there. The more she thought about the one she loved, the more she missed him and the pain of that longing sliced knife-like to her very core. With the body of a god, the heart of a lion, and a sharp and inquisitive intellect, he strode head and shoulders above most, and when he slept, it was the deep slumber of victory. It was the restful sleep of one who knew neither fear nor boundaries and when he woke, the world would take note. At that very moment, she longed for nothing more than to be bound up in his embrace. By comparison,this one with her now seems timid and weak. Like a child too eager to please, he gropes about looking for approval, never understanding that it is not the things that one does, but rather the person one becomes, that makes him special.
Suddenly repulsed, she tries to slide of of bed without waking him, and she has to shush him soothingly as he fitfully turns over. Once he seems to be sleeping again, she slips into a robe and slippers, and pads off to make coffee. Sitting alone in the kitchen, for what seems like a long while, she stares into her cup, wondering how she could have allowed this to happen. Was she really that lonely, or maybe she just drank too much. Perhaps she just wanted a measure of revenge against the one who had hurt her and this was the quickest way of doing so. Whatever, she thought, the trick now is to get this imposter out of here and move on with the day.
He appears suddenly in the doorway, fully dressed and far too awake and chipper for the hour. The conversation that follows over coffee and breakfast, is lively and engaging, and she begins to remember a bit of why she had been attracted to him in the first place. Between peals of laughter, she thinks to herself; “I'll give him credit for one thing, he's a funny motherfucker”. Yet, for all the lively banter, they could both see the failure and disappointment reflected in each others' eyes and this was his way of not only leaving in the most gentlemanly way, but as a salve against the sting of rejection.
The final parting went rather quickly. “Well,” she sighed, with a gentle wave of the hand, “I have a ton of stuff I need to do and I suppose I really need to get to it”. After they exchange a few more meaningless pleasantries, she kisses him softly on the lips and giggles at him ”Drive carefully now. Remember, that car's not paid for yet”. Trying hard to hide his disappointment, he smiles wanly and slouches away as she closes the door behind him.
Thankful to be by herself again, she looks up at the clock and says, “What the hell am I doing up at this hour? Fuck it! I'm going back to sleep” and with her bed, now pleasantly devoid of anyone save her, she falls asleep, and dreams.