How Did We Get There?

The bed might as well have been a block of ice. With her back to Russell, Shauntell stared straight ahead at the blank wall.


She didn’t say anything and honestly, she didn’t need to; her position in the bed, back to Russell, knees curled into her chest, did all the talking for her. The little space between Russell and Shauntell might as well have been the Pacific Ocean for all Russell was concerned.


Lying on their back, staring up at the ceiling, all Russell could do was question themself; How did they get here? 


“Shauntell prefers to sleep on my chest.” Russell remembered saying to one of their and Shauntell’s friends.


“I could never! I’m cool with cuddling while I’m awake, but once I’m out, get away!” Devin, Shauntell and Russell’s friend, said.


That conversation had taken place mere months ago, but to Russell, it felt like a full lifetime ago.


Their warm, loving home was now a house sculpted from ice, and Russell was naked inside.


Still staring up at the ceiling, Russell tried to replay every moment of their and Shauntell’s relationship, trying to figure out how they went from ‘the cuddle bunnies’ to such a frigid old couple.


Even Shauntell’s parents, who had been married for twenty years, and Russell’s parents who had been together for thirty-one years, even they were still madly in love. Yet here Shauntell and Russell were, existing in the same New York City apartment, both acting as though the other wasn’t there at all. 


With their eyes still focused on the same spot on the ceiling, Russell thought back to the day they and Shauntell moved into their apartment.


After months and months of obsessing over the view and feng shui of apartment after apartment, the young couple had finally found the place they were looking for. An east-facing New York City high-rise, the couple’s home would get lots of the natural lighting that Shauntell and Russell loved so much.


Back in the beginning, the apartment was so lively. Russell used to wake up every morning and begin their day with some light meditation, coffee, and a book. Then, as the sun would rise, Russell would make their way to the kitchen and begin cooking as Shauntell was waking up. 


By the time Shauntell was done with her shower, breakfast would be served, and depending on whether it was a weekday or a weekend, the couple would either enjoy their breakfast at the kitchen island or in Shauntell’s makeup room.

They used to blast music all throughout the house, dancing around the apartment as they got ready for the day. 


Nowadays, their stereo just sat there collecting dust, as the couple dragged their feet around the apartment, mumbling apologies whenever one of them got in the other’s way. 


Russell blinked a few times, guilt coursing through their bones as they tried to pinpoint the exact moment things began to fall apart. 


They stared and stared until their eyes began to hurt.


Turning over, they looked at Shauntell, who was still facing away from them and sighed. 


“How did we get here?” They quietly asked her back.


Part of Russell was hoping that she’d heard them; maybe she’d turn around and they could have a conversation about it. But at the same time, Russell prayed that maybe she didn’t hear them, cause a conversation could very well lead to a breakup, and as selfish as it was, they weren’t quite ready for that.


Rolling back over, Russell folded their hands together and shoved them under their pillow. Closing their eyes, Russell said a silent prayer that the nagging feeling, that their and Shauntell’s relationship was on the brink of collapsing, would eventually go away.

This short story was inspired by Jon Bellion’s Crop Circles. I hope you’ve enjoyed this story. If you have, make sure you let me know by hitting that star or leaving a comment about your favorite part. For more LGBT short stories, click HERE, and follow the site! 

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