The Mornings After

She woke with the first chirps of the alarm and hit snooze. He did not stir. The pattern repeated for half an hour until it was absolutely time for him to get up. She placed her hand on his back and contracted her fingers gently. He moved when she murmured his name, but rather than get up he rolled on to his back and stuck out an inviting arm.

She nestled into his chest, anxious that he would be late but happy to be held by him. She missed him when he slept. His thigh moved in between her legs and pressed against her. His eyes were shut and his lips pouted slightly. He took her hand, which had been stroking his chest, and moved it down. She found him hard. He was going to be late.

He kissed her and she tasted last night wine, still strong on his breath. But then, hadn’t they only gone to bed a few hours ago? The smell of cigarette smoke clung to his hair. He groaned as she slid her hand back and forth. He moved on top of her, his blue and bloodshot eyes bore into her heavy brown ones. He made love to her, not a phrase she was fond of, but that was how it always felt to her in the mornings. His drunken fumbling at night seemed more like an escape, a way to quiet the demons that only got louder with drink. But in the mornings, almost sober, he was gentle and sincere. She held him tightly, her face buried into his shoulder, breathing him in.

After, whilst he showered in a hurry, she grabbed a cereal bar and some fruit from the kitchen to put in his bag. She left change by his jacket so that he could get the bus to work. He dressed and styled his hair whilst she watched from the bed. Her chest was tight; once he left she didn’t know when she might see him again. Rain suddenly began to thud against the window and she longed for the night before, the sound of the rain against low music, candlelight flickering and making the shadows dance across the room. He was leaving. She saw him out and he kissed her quickly. She always felt that they were like strangers when they said goodbye. He said that he’d text her, but by now she knew that he might mean in an hour or in a month, or maybe longer.

She locked the door and went back to bed. She held his pillow to her face and inhaled and unravelled.

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