She woke with that groggy feeling that comes with taking sleeping pills. She felt mediated for everything: depression, migraines, insomnia. But those pills were too often the only thing that kept her moving through life. They got her out of bed, dressed (sometimes), and asleep. She did not like to think about what she would be without the pills. It was, she felt, a necessary and sanctioned addiction.
This morning was rough. She woke up a few times only to fall back on the bed, into sleep. But the insistence of the birds, the refusal of the sun to just go behind one more damn cloud, the push of the dreams, finally forced to just open her eyes and sit up. She rose slowly, careful because too fast would make her head split open, allowing in a radiating pain that sometimes made her throw up. She put her hands on her knees, and let her head fall to her chest. As usual there was no one beside her. She slept a lone most nights.
The dreams were still coming. A whole fucking year, and they still came, night after night. Sometimes, even on the sleeping pills, she would wake to smell him in her room. She could never let go of the way his skin smelled, the ways her sheets smelled of him after he had left. Even now, with the horror of night still fresh on her body, she knew his touch with a longing pleasure. The way his hands felt on her sweaty skin, the way he curved his fingers over breasts, one thumb brushing her nipple, squeezing it between the same thumb and the first finger. It was enough to make her sigh. Once, when it was all fresher, she would sometimes moan, and lay back down on her bed to masturbate. A masturbation that tore her up, killed her little by little, threw her back into an unattainable past. But now she just sighed, and pushed the memories away.
She had made the choice. She felt quite pleased with the nobility of her choice but she also knew that nobility had little to do with it. The choice had been made to avoid destruction. And yes she had saved herself from death but really she had not exchanged that death for life. Instead she was dying a slow, lingering death, her life being sucked into the absence of where he was not.