Together or Apart

Rough material, possibly for a story. Based on a dream I had yesterday.


The floor was rumbling. We were laying side-by-side on the double mattress, no sheets, no boxspring, no bedframe. We’d just had sex, and I was feeling awkward and self-conscious. I suspect he was feeling a bit sleepy, and perhaps still a bit high.

He confused me. I didn’t know yet if we were together or not, if this was “just having some fun,” or more.

And then, the springs of the bed began to rock us. It was gentle at first, and then more insistent, like a mother trying to wake her child from a deep sleep. I raised my head a fraction of an inch, and peeked at him through the corner of my eye.

“Any idea what that is?” I asked, feigning a grogginess to my voice.

He sat up languidly. I admired him hazily, even while beginning to feel an uncanny trepidation. “Nope.” He cocked his head to the side and grinned suddenly. “Maybe the party started up again?” Suddenly he was bouncing–quite literally, as the floor was rhumbaing the bed a few centimeters at a time–but also bounding, out of bed, full of energy and fully awake.

He wasn’t your typical dude, to put it plainly.

He hopped around to my side and bowed forward, a hand outstretched. “M’lady? Shall we join the revelers?” He was grinning more than ever. My trepidation about having slept together vanished. I was still wary, but hell, it seemed a better idea than staying on a dancing, bouncing mattress on the second floor of a ramshackle house. The kind that’s perpetually home to a rotating cast of five or more 20-somethings who haven’t figured their lives out yet.

I took his hand–so warm, so callused–and he pulled me up off the bed. His strength still surprised me, given how thin he was.

We headed down the stairs, still holding hands (to my surprise and pleasure), and found the house empty. We padded through the threadbare carpet to the shabby linoleum entryway and peeked out the window of the front door. They were all huddled at the foot of the stairs, staring up at the house in horror.

I heard an ear-splitting crack, followed by a low rumble and tiny crashing sounds throughout the house. I turned in time to see the bathtub fall, with surprising slowness, and surprising grace, through the ceiling and into the kitchen just beyond the hall we were standing in. The floor shook with the impact, and then, ever slowly, the rest of the floor began to sink down.

Crash. The sink.

Crash. The toilet. (A fine mess it was.)

Crash. Someone’s closet.

Crash. Here come the linens, scattering like prayer flags.

The house was coming apart, around us.

Crash. I glimpsed the mattress we’d just been laying on, as he grabbed my arm and pulled with more force than I would have thought possible. Curious, I thought, how strong he is. I couldn’t seem to get over that.

The door seemed to fall away as we ran toward it. Perhaps it did, or more likely, someone had tugged it open in the hopes of drawing us out of the decrepit place. He pulled me around, placed a hand on the small of my back, and pushed as he ran forward. We dove out of the doorway as the entire house pancaked.

All in all, it probably looked pretty cool. Like something in a movie.

I skidded down the sidewalk and front lawn, face first, with him right behind me, landing half on-top of me. The booming of the collapse faded as I began laughing, then turned to him, half my face scraped and bleeding, from our landing.

“Well, I guess we moved heaven and earth, huh darling?”

He rolled over and pulled me toward him, his hand still on my back. We winced mutually as our bruising lips touched, and held each other tightly.

There was no doubt then. We were alive. We were having fun.

And we were together.


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