In the morning after the day before and itself before the day to come, I sit on the corner of an empty bed. Her scent still permeates the room only slightly less powerful than the scent we made together. The note she left on my pillow read only “I’m sorry” and a kiss. I can still taste her on my lips and if I close my eyes I can still feel her soft caress. Slowly… so slowly, I stand and walk to the bathroom. Leaning close, I scrutinize the face in the mirror looking for new lines, looking for any sign. Another day older, another year gone by. Day in, day out, every day the same. I’ll meet her again, only she won’t look the same, she never does. Her smell will be different, she’ll have a different game, and the note she leaves tomorrow will be different from today, but she’ll be the same in the ways that I need. I won’t ask her name and she won’t offer, and she’ll get me through another night. Again I look at the man in the mirror, but he is the same — he’s always the same — day in, day out always the same. I quickly get dressed in the clothes I wore yesterday and I gather the sheets and some coins for the wash. And I open the windows to clear away the scents. I grab my keys and with the sheets in my arms, I leave the apartment and head for the laundry.
I return later with the sheets folded neatly under my arm. The scents are all gone from my place. Sterile it seems. I lay the sheets on the bed and close the windows. I strip off my clothes and put them in the laundry basket with the other items to be washed on Sunday. Into the bathroom I then go and into the shower to cleanse myself. Afterwards I towel dry my body, and stand at the window looking out onto the city. I know she’s out there, somewhere, my salvation, my night’s comfort. Somewhere working for a living, talking to friends, enjoying happiness. I envy and pity her. I envy her ability to have happiness, to grab life by the reigns and hold on for the ride. I pity her because I will use her, use her for one night and be done. She will want more at first but in the morning she will go. She will go. I settle my tired body down into my favorite chair in the corner of the bedroom, and sleep. Dream filled sleep — nightmares — of love lost, gone with death. Love cut short; a hole in my heart. Of my life as a ghoul, living on insurance money and preying on others, using them to get by, to ease the pain. I awaken slowly, as my dreams do not frighten me any longer. I put on deodorant and cologne, and dress myself in silence. I grab my keys and turn out the lights, as I head out into the night to look for her.
I awake in the morning in another strange bed. His arms are wrapped around me, one hand on my breast, the other between my thighs. He is sleeping. I slowly slide the hand from between my thighs and it falls to the mattress. He stirs but does not wake. Carefully, carefully, I remove his hand from my breast and he rolls onto his back. Quietly I lift myself from the bed and go to the bathroom mirror and look at my face. Looking for a sign, a change, a difference, but I’m still the same woman I was the night before. I look back at the poor fellow I let pick me up. I look at his home, at his bed, at his chair, at his laundry basket he will probably empty on Sunday. And I think of my life, of finding men each night for comfort, to ease the pain, pain of lost love. I shed a tear. Not for myself but for him. I wish for his happiness as my own, for his job, his friends, and I pity the pain he may feel when he wakes and I am gone. I dress in silence, in the clothes I wore yesterday. I almost leave him a note, but I cannot think of what to write. I slip out into the hallway and close the door behind me. In the darkness, I close my eyes and try to dwell on the previous night’s passion and forget my broken heart. But the fracture is still there and the dull throbbing begins anew. I head down the hall and out of the building, toward home. To shower, to sleep, to rest for tomorrow night when I’ll look again for comfort in the arms of a stranger.
-6 Oct 1994