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California King Bed This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

When I met him, we were poor. I lived in a small apartment above the town's local bar. He lived in an even smaller complex a few dingy towns over. We met in a grocery store. He was buying a pack of cigarettes. I was irritated because he was looking for change and I wanted to get home. Once I paid, I walked outside and found him waiting for me. He apologized for making me wait, then asked if I wanted a smoke. I told him that I didn't want that stuff in my mouth. He was wearing a fedora and a black overcoat. I started to leave. He asked me to wait, and then if I wanted to get a drink. I shrugged and went along with him.

I didn't have anything else to do.

We found ourselves at the seedy bar beneath my apartment. He bought me a drink, and one for himself. We talked all night. He told me he wanted to go to medical school. I told him I wanted to be an author. He said one day we'd get there. I laughed.

Shortly after midnight, I invited him up to my apartment. He accepted. My apartment was small and barely lit. He didn't seem to mind. I opened a fresh bottle of Chardonnay and poured us both a cup. He drank his slowly as we talked.

It was four when we both were getting tired. I offered to share my bed. Once again, he accepted. His lip curled under when he saw it. My bed was a small twin with one dirty sheet on top. It was all I could afford. I climbed in. He shrugged and climbed in with me. Both of us, though weathered from not eating, didn't lack size. His muscular arm curled around me to keep us from falling out of bed. He whispered in my ear until I fell asleep.

Soon enough, this became an everyday thing. We would meet at the store, where he would smoke his cigarettes. We'd go to the bar. And then we'd make ourselves fit in my small twin bed. I had gotten to know him. He had gotten to know me. I told him things. He told me things. He was like my best friend. Well, he would have been if I believed in that kind of crap.

One night over Chardonnay, he told me he loved me. I told him not to say things he didn't mean, and that it was the wine talking. That night, in our small twin bed, he kissed me. And I kissed him back. This became part of our nightly routine as well. And then slowly, I started to give him everything I had. And in return, he loved me.

Suddenly, work began to pick up. He had enough money for medical school. We lost our wine time in the evening, because he had to study. But he was ­always in our small twin bed on time. Then he started to miss a night here and there. But it was okay, because he made it up to me.

Two years passed, and my writing career started to pick up. Someone had noticed my work and taken an interest. A few more years passed. He was a successful doctor, and I a successful author. We decided it was time to move to a larger place. We could now afford more than the small, dingy apartment. We bought a house, and of course, brought our twin bed with us.

He began working more. I began writing more. We slept in our bed less. One day, he decided that our bed was too small for us. I agreed. After work he went shopping. The next day an over-size California king bed showed up. We both slept in it that night. And for nights and nights after.

We began to drift apart. The whispering stopped. We no longer curled around each other in our sleep. It was like the bed grew bigger every night, the further we drifted apart. I didn't know him anymore. He didn't know me.

As the bed grew bigger, there was room for more people. And sure enough, more people came in. One night I walked in to find his muscular arm wrapped around someone else. I looked at him and he looked at me. I'm not stupid; I knew it was over. I just didn't imagine it would end like this.

I walked down to the basement and lay on that small twin bed of ours. Mine now. My eyes closed.

When I met him, we were poor. My mind flashed back to an image of him with a cigarette. I didn't know him anymore. He was gone. And all I had left was this stupid bed. I left the next morning, carrying the mattress.

It was the wine talking all along. I'm writing this as an author. Half to sell, so I can buy a new bed. And half as a warning. Don't let space come between you two, or you'll lose him. And then you'll have no choice but to let go.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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