Billy couldn’t sleep, so he rolled to his right side, looking away from her. He wondered what had happened, what had changed, what got lost. Mostly, he wondered why. “There was a time we did so much more than cuddle.” He wondered, “Maybe she isn’t real. Maybe she’s a dream. Maybe everything’s a dream.”

He inhaled slowly, letting his lungs fill, then slowly breathed out. “Focus on now. Not yesterday, not tomorrow. Now.” His doctor called that mindfulness, but Billy had another description for it, “Turn off the brain cells, and just feel.”

He turned off his brain cells, and felt. He felt lonely, despite her being next to him. He felt hollow, like a shell of a person. Like nothing was inside him. He felt old, too old to love any longer. Just a companion. A friend to keep around. Someone to hug, and talk too.

He wondered, “If some hot redhead got naked in front of me, would I do anything, or would I just stare at her?”

Another long, slow breath, and more time spent trying to feel the moment caused him to kick his feet around as he tried to adjust the sheets, and blankets. “Stupid wrinkles.” He moved around until the wrinkles shifted position, and his toes and feet felt better.

Memories of the good times they’d had in bed drifted through his mind. Nights when they didn’t sleep. Nights they tried different things. Different positions. Different ways. It’s not like they’d decided to stop. Not like they got tired of sex. More like they ran out of things to try.

“Is that why guys fool around? To try something new?” It was a rhetorical question, but perhaps there was some truth to it. “Maybe they try different women trying to find something different?” He almost chuckled in the dark. “Once you’ve explored one cave, you’ve explored them all, but you keep looking for a different cave.”

“Maybe that’s why guys watch porn?” Because they wanted more, but couldn’t get more? Maybe they wanted something different, and had run out of new things to try with her, so they watched movies and imagined trying new things with other women?

There was that hollow, empty feeling again. Maybe he really was. Maybe he was nothing but an empty shell, drained of the joy of life. Like an empty gas tank. Nothing left for the motor to run on. No fuel. No fumes. Nothing.

He knew he didn’t need that Viagra, or Cialis junk. He still got it up when he wanted to. Still had his fantasies. Things he knew would never happen. And he knew what he’d do if they did. Like the fantasies of two women. Women, not girls. And he got to stick it in everywhere.

But they were only fantasies. Not real. Real was where nothing happened. Night after night. Where there was nothing inside him. Except emptiness.

Eventually, he grew tired enough he drifted to sleep, into the nothing of his dreams.

500 Words

It’s April 18th, and I’m behind in the 2015 A to Z Challenge. This is the 14th of 26 pieces I’m writing in April. Today, the letter N. Tomorrow, the letter O. I have no idea what I’ll write tomorrow.

This is also my entry into #FlashMobWrites 1×08, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories in this week’s challenge.


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