In the darkness, Petra forgets the name of the person lying next to her. Her lips shape names toward the ceiling: Alan? Maxwell? Brian? Trevor? She remembers Brian, his short hair, the anger that burned low down in his belly and gave him ulcers, his pretentiousness. Brian was a biter; she runs her fingers tentatively down her sides, finds herself blank, pain-free. Maxwell snored, in every position, rattling snare, memento of a nose broken in seventh grade; whoever this is, he’s silent, not Maxwell. Hrm.
She doesn’t remember much about Trevor. His face, his voice, even the arguments they’d had that had gone on for days have all faded into obscurity; all she has of him is the smell he pressed into her pillows, left clinging to her sheets, not a bad smell, just powerful. With everything else gone missing she remembers that smell, sharp and distinct as the must of her grandmother’s attic.
In the darkness, Petra forgets everything about the person lying next to her. She’s gone to bed with a mystery, a cipher, an enigmatic scribble that could mean anything. She lives, just for an instant, in two places at once, lies next to herself; when she rolls over, there’s another body where hers used to be, a small piece of herself left drying on the beach.