Together We Sleep

Written by Rivers of Tarmac


There’s a lot they don’t tell you about sleeping with someone. Not sex (although I’m sure there is plenty they don’t tell you about that, too) and not snuggling – just sleeping. Sleeping next to someone, with their arms wrapped around you and their body pressed against yours. They tell you all the good stuff – how intimate it is, how it feels like you belong there. And how safe and warm it makes you feel. They even tell you some of the bad stuff – the fights for blankets, the lack of bed space. But there’s a lot they don’t tell you.

They don’t tell you about those moments when your head is trapped in the crook of their elbow, which is sweaty, and you feel sticky and warm and a bit uncomfortable. They don’t tell you about elbows pressing into your back, or the rough scratch of stubble on your neck. Or how when they cough, you will feel it – warm and tickling – on your ear.

They don’t tell you how warm and damp and sweaty you will feel, with hot naked flesh pressed up against you and pressure in all the wrong places. They don’t tell you how your hips will ache from lying at an unnatural angle, that every time you shift your weight you will hear them sigh as you disturb them. They don’t tell you about limbs trapped beneath you, hands roaming awkwardly in search of a resting place, or arms that have nowhere to go. They don’t tell you about the vague sense of unease that comes from sharing all of this with another human being.

And yet, as I lay there – blankets awry, joints aching, limbs tangled, warm and uncomfortable, he whispered “I love you” into my ear. And I fell asleep smiling.


Together We Sleep was written as part of a sleepless night for Rivers of Tarmac, whilst lying next to her partner. In a stream-of-consciousness setting, these were the thoughts that ran through her head that night, rather than sheep counting. And we couldn’t agree more with her opinion. A dead arm, a dead shoulder, the sticky sweat. Yet despite all the bad points, the comfort of having that special someone next to you is just worth it. If you enjoyed Rivers of Tarmac’s work, you can view more short stories such as, ‘This is not an Eloquent Post‘ and ‘A Boy Who Fell In Love‘.

Featured Image CC // Art Brom

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