The Other Side of the Bed

Travis Baker

Travis Baker

Him

The bed is a raft adrift upon the rolling sea, cobbled together out of driftwood and desire.  We press against each other, my belly to her back, my right hand upon her thigh, her hands folded under her left cheek.  I feel the fabric of her dress, sleek and soft.  She feels like cream would if you could hold it. She feels like cream because even as she lies with me, I feel her slipping away into the deep dark night as the stars shine.  We close our eyes to see them.

My fingers slip below the hem of her dress and my hand draws it upward, over her thigh to her hip.  The fingers release the fabric and then slide down, to where skin meets skin and it is warm.  I do not touch the deep.  There is time.

This is nice. Just here.

But there is more to discover.  I slide my hand up and over her satin covered belly to her breasts.  I kiss her, just behind the ear.

“I love you,” I whisper.

“No,” she says.  “You don’t.”  Her body shutters.  I feel its echo on my chest.  “You just think you do,” she says.

The bed is a raft drifting upon the rolling sea, now come apart; the ropes made from madness have come undone.  Even as I hold her she diminishes, evaporating into the horizon.

Her

I fell into this bed with him.  I fell into this bed.  Fully clothed, except the shoes, the shoes that I can see, lying next to the bedroom door, where I’d dropped them, as he kissed me, as he looked at me so expectantly, frightfully, pleasingly.  I broke away and fell into the bed and he lay down beside me, behind me, I can feel him pushing against me, his penis wanting to break through his jeans and get into me.

I want him to.  I want him to take me and fuck me and drive the night sky from me but he’s touching me, so softly, so sweetly, so secretly.  This is torture.  If he would just fuck me I could leave.

“I love you,” he says.

“No,” I say.  “You don’t.”

I shiver.

I quake.

“You just think you do,” I say, because he cannot see, his eyes are closed, he’s out counting stars and I’m in here, in the cave within my chest, the stalactites dripping the taint and stain I leave in every bed I’ve ever fallen into.

5 Comments

  1. Stunning. Please, more from this writer!

  2. Brought chills down my spine…that kind of sensuality and insight…I wish they would just a get a room somewhere…the sky and the sea is too naked…Travis is wicked here…

  3. This story broke my heart, and yanked the breath right out of my lungs. The balance between Him/Her is so aching, tender, and longing–it would have been too easy to villanize or idealize these characters. Here, they are simply what we all are: flawed humans, looking for things we can’t name, not knowing what to do with them when & if we find them, and feeling terrible for not loving or not being loved in the way that we want to, or think that we deserve. The terrible beauty of this piece is its unflinching honesty, and the way that Travis creates two people who could be anyone, and shows how each of them suffer at their own hands and the hands of one another, while reaching for the very thing that they think should be their salvation. It reminds me of the Harry Nilsson song– “Two/ can be as bad as one/it’s the lonliest number since the number one.”

  4. Beautiful story Travis. I love it!

    Tina

  5. Travis, being my Creative Writing teacher at my University, read this poem to the class. I was absolutely and utterly amazed at this poem. I loved it. It really pulled on my emotions because it gave each the and woman their own views and showed how they viewed the other person in the same bed.

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