I am sat on his bed and he is beside me. His flat is freezing and he is, fully clothed, under the blanket. I am sat shivering. I can’t get in bed with him. An old eighties comedy is on the small TV. Nothing else on. I’m not watching it. Pretty sure he isn’t either.
He looks up at me for the fiftieth time in ten minutes and asks if I’m cold. I nod and he tells me to get in bed then.
He is my best friend. In three months I was supposed to walk down the aisle towards another man. For fifteen years he has slept in a bed with a woman as cold as ice.
We met at work. Bonded over smoke breaks and sneaky lunchtime beers.
We gave each other the strength to leave. He is my best friend. He is not and never has been more. There was no affair. No matter what is uttered by spiteful tongues.
Stiff limbed I slide under the blanket propping myself up with the flat pillow. Almost immediately it collapses behind me. I am still shivering from the cold.
He rolls and his arm slips around my waist. He’s rubbing my arm. It’s nothing but an attempt to keep me warm.
Then his eyes meet mine and we are kissing.
After what feels like a minute, an eternity, my head is resting on his chest as it steadily rises and falls with sleep.
If I knew that ten years later I would be staring at a sole faded photograph whose image is blurred by my tears. If I knew the smell of that aftershave would forevermore take me back to this night. If I knew.
But I don’t know. Tonight I am happy. Tonight I am falling asleep in the arms of my best friend.
I don’t know.
Tomorrow I will wake in the arms of a stranger.