it's 2:56am, and I'm lying next to a stranger.
when the sun rises, I'll already be gone.
I'll have already climbed out of his bed,
found my clothes, tiptoed
to the front door, and vanished.
the house will be left exactly as it was.
his car will still be parked in the driveway.
the curtains will still be drawn.
the withering houseplant in his kitchen
will remain unwatered.
everything will be left untouched.
when I leave, it will appear
as if I had never been there at all.
but I was.
two weeks from now,
he won't remember my name.
he won't remember anything
besides the feeling of skin on skin,
of a warm body pressed up against his.
in his mind, I will have been
nothing more than another body.
I always imagined that going home
with a complete stranger would feel wrong,
would be terrifying, that not knowing
who is next to me when I am falling asleep
would be scary.
a few months ago, it was 2:56am
and I was lying next to a stranger.
this time, he wasn't a complete stranger.
this was not my first night with him,
far from it. I knew him. he knew me.
I wasn't gone when the sun rose
in the morning. the house was left
exactly as it was the night before.
the only difference was that this time,
I was still there.
two weeks after that night,
he would remember my name.
he would remember my laugh,
my freckles, my eyes
my voice when I was tired,
how I talked too fast
whenever I was excited,
the way that I looked at him
when I was in love.
and I would remember all
of those little things about him,
the same way he would remember
all of those little things about me.
I always imagined that sleeping next
to someone who I loved would feel safe,
would be comforting, that knowing the
person next to me when I am falling asleep
would be wonderful.
for the most part, my imagination
wasn't incorrect. I was right when I pictured
how incredible sleeping next to
someone who I loved would feel.
I was right when I pictured how frightening
sleeping next to someone
who I didn't know would feel.
I was right about most of it.
but I was wrong about one thing.
while lying in a bed at 2:56am,
I realized that the memory
of sleeping with a complete stranger
hurt far less than the memory
of sleeping with someone
who I once thought I knew.