On my pillow, another woman’s earring. Her Bolt of Lightning perfume, mixed with the heavy scent of sweat from vigorous exertion, assails my nostrils. I touch a long silken hair that cuts a black line across the white pillowcase.
Acrid frustration dries my mouth. Swallowing is an effort. I hate working night shift, leaving my side of the bed empty. It’s an invitation to injury.
From the bathroom I hear her singing. She throws open the door and races to me.
“Sally! Love!” She throws herself into my arms. We hug like sisters reunited after decades apart, not lovers separated by a graveyard shift.
“Mei,” I sigh. “If you have to sleep on my side of the bed, could you please shower first?”
© Maggie Bolitho