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safe

††The door creaks. You know itís him, you can recognize his footsteps, treading on the carpet, hard, noisy footsteps. He knows you can awaken at the slightest sound, he knows that sometimes, even the plain sound of someone breathing can get on your nerves.

††Thatís why he makes as much noise as he can when he comes in, just to annoy you.

††You can pretend to be asleep; you can pretend that he didnít bother you as much as he thinks he didÖ

††You can pretend.

††But the thing was, you werenít even asleep. You couldnít sleep, not when he was out, you were waiting for that door to creak and open, for him to stomp in, for the sounds of him dropping his clothes on the floor, for the sound of him falling onto the bed, and only when you hear him snoring away do you turn, turn to face his bed.

††Look at him.

††Heís lying face down and you roll your eyes. His face is smashed into the pillow and his hand trails on the floor, the sheets arenít pulled back and heís naked, and the cold air blowing in through the window would give him a cold.

††If he had a cold he wouldnít go out and you could sleep. No late nights for him if he was sick.

††Why should you be bothered? You have half a mind to just let him lie there, let the cold get to him; let the cold crawl under his pasty skin and through his thin frame.

††But you canít.

††You sigh, throw the covers off yourself. Good Lord, itís cold. And heís lying on the bed, buck-ass naked. No wonder heís so damn pale.

††Crossing the room, you stand for a second at the edge of his bed. Rolling your eyes again as he mutters into his pillow, trying to get up and collapsing back onto the bed, totally passed out from all the alcohol heís drunk tonight. You hate it when he comes back so piss drunk he doesnít know who he is; itís just so damn annoying.

††Leaning down, you have to use your entire weight to move him so he lies on his back. Immediately his breathing slows, becomes easier as his face isnít stuffed into the pillow anymore. Tugging at the sheets and the covers, you ease them out from under him and somehow, after a lot of pulling and cursing, you manage to drape them over his body.

††It really irritates you to do this, night after night. Again, you ask yourself, why the hell are you bothered?

††Because you care. Dammit, you canít help it. You justÖ canít. You hate having to do this, but you just canít bring yourself to let him be. Itís just something, that is you, because heís just a part of your life, and what he does affects you. Somehow. He doesnít know it, and youíre not sure why, but it does.

††And thatís why you lie awake, only able to sleep when heís snoring in the next bed, only able to sleep in the secure comfort that heís safe.

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© Marziya Mohammedali, 2001-2013