The mattress was expensive and soft, much more comfortable that her own. That alone would have been enough to make her stay. The long, beautiful sleep it offered. But they never did much sleeping.
The pillows were equal in quality. When he wasn’t back from work she used one for her head and hugged the other. It was almost a disappointment when he crawled in beside her at two a.m. and took it for himself. He replaced it with his own divine body so she forgave him.
The sheets. Grey. Practical. Never fully tucked in. In the morning they left them tangled and twisted, the doona kicked down to their feet or onto the floor. They kept each other warm on the colder nights.
The room around the bed was small. One bedside table filled the space between it and the sliding mirrored doors of the wardrobe. With the lights on and her legs around his waist she never dared look at the reflection. She couldn’t look him in the eye either. Not for long anyway. She was ashamed she wasn’t braver. She wanted the connection but thought he’d turn away.
The house which contained the room was old but perfect for renovation. One day it would make an excellent home, but not for them. She knew they wouldn’t last much longer. She felt a gulf between them even when he touched her. He kissed her less and looked at her less and talked to her less. She moved through his house like a ghost, he didn’t see or hear her. She had no effect or substance. She felt thin and frail in his presence. He let her stay there sometimes, alone, while he was at work in the evenings. She would look at the front door. She could leave at any time but then there would be no bed, no pillows, not sheets, no arms to wrap around her in the night. She hated herself for wanting these things more than her own happiness. But she was too far in and never left.
In the dark he came home and crawled, naked, into bed. He reached those arms out for her soft body but it wasn’t there. He turned on the lights and looked around the house but didn’t find her. He texted her but didn’t call and fell asleep waiting for her reply. In the morning he called their friends but no one had seen or heard and she wasn’t picking up.
She watched him from the end of the bed, still in the clothes she had worn the day before. She smiled at the worry on his face and drifted through his house, a ghost.