I am an expert at sliding out of bed without disturbing whoever is sleeping in it, but this thing is ridiculous. Every time I attempt to untangle myself from the extraneous limbs, I set the mattress off creaking, the springs squeaking, the comforter crinkling. I sigh. Staying here in this impossibly noisy bed with a girl I barely know is not an option. But every time I begin to plot my escape, I make noise and she stirs. Her eyes flutter and she makes a quiet mmm sound before winding her arms further around me and falling asleep again.
It’s not that she isn’t nice or that she isn’t beautiful. She’s all of those things and probably more. But I’ll never find out. Just like every other girl I’ve met at a bar and gone home with, I just can’t stay.
I need to hit the gym. I haven’t lifted since yesterday and I need to catch up. Weight lifting has been a part of my daily regimen since I was fourteen. I never miss a day. My father was always strong and he never went to the gym a day in his life. Maybe that’s just a dad thing. They’re strong without trying to be. He was there when I needed him and I miss him every day.
The clock on the girl’s nightstand reads 5:47. I have to get out before the sun breaks through the window beside me. The need to run itches within me. The longer I lay in this bed beside her, the more I feel it like physical pain. My legs ache with the need to flee. My hands are waiting to grope for my pants, my wallet, my keys, anything. They are the life preservers that will keep me from drowning here.
The night was fun, unbelievably sexy, but as soon as it was over and she fell asleep I slowly began to suffocate. It’s as if all the air is being sucked from the room. As soon as I am able to leave her warm body behind, the crisp night air will engulf me. Only then will I feel the true ecstasy of freedom and be able to breathe at last.
I try my luck again, gently pulling my arm out from beneath her head. In one swift stroke, it’s free. At the disruption, she begins to cough in her sleep. It’s small at first, but soon grows deeper, touching her lungs. She mentioned the night before that she was getting over a cold and soon the cough dies down into even breathing. She rolls away from me and I am completely free. But now, I’m frozen here, suddenly paralyzed by fear.
I prop myself up on my elbow and pull her hair away from her face to make sure she’s still breathing. My heart is slamming into my sternum; panic bleaching out rational thought and I am sent painfully back to my childhood backyard when I was playing tag with Maisee…
next: Sneaking Away – Part Two
more by NOELLE CURRIE
photograph by Jay Mantri