She had invited him over to her place over text last night.
“What are you doing right now?“
“Just finished work. Making dinner. Why?”
“I just got my roller skates and I want you to come over and watch me fall.”
He smiled. There was something sweet and childlike about her invitation. But he knew he was too tired to do anything. He took his time to respond.
“I wish I could but I just got through five clients and I’m exhausted.”
“Okay, your loss!”
“It really is.”
He returned to the kitchen and quietly ate his unremarkable meal: chicken, rice and salad. He was sad that he lacked the energy to engage in the simple play to which he had been invited.
As he got into bed that night he thought about how he loved her despite not wanting to be closer. There was a quiet understanding between them that their love required a great distance. With this distance they could lean into the warm feelings and let go of the hurt they had caused one another.
They had lived together for only a short time some sixteen years ago. In his tired loneliness he missed that moment before bedtime of watching her undress. He missed that final embrace and hearing her voice mumble a sleepy “I love you”. The memory became so vivid he had almost forgotten he was alone.
He moved his pillows and body to the middle of the bed almost as if to prevent any further memories or fantasies about someone being next to him. Almost as if to say, “There is no room here for anyone real or imagined.”
He thought of reaching out to someone but couldn’t quite imagine what he would say. He swallowed his pills, turned out the lights and went to sleep early.
He did not dream.