I smell the pillow, afraid to leave my scent for days or weeks in your bed. An odd combination of the peach sweet smell of my mother and the tobacco oil hair of my father; my history creates my present 4,000 miles from home under your duvet. But the cloth is inundated with histories of smells of its own. Yours, like fresh wet grass, is touching naked in the fall breeze under the flapping curtains. It’s falling asleep belly to belly, skin on skin beneath the aching dawn. It’s a symphony of song.
I breathe it in, and I smell them, your past lovers, too. I sit up slow and quiet, take a look at your sleep puffed pouty face half covered with the sheet and smile. The instinct to kiss your forehead jars, then it fades and I find my bra on the back of your desk chair, my jeans crumpled at the end of the bed, and I pull it all into the hall to dress and not wake you. I tie my shoes at the bottom of the stairs in the dark and let myself out, imagining that the echo quiet click of the latch twitches your subconscious and you roll over, slip your hand under the pillow with decades of scent and forget that I was there.
Photo by Nathan Coté