Here is a new free short story for you: Bedbound and Beyond. Can you work out what it’s about? Either way, hope you enjoy!
Bedbound and Beyond
He was bored, he was anxious. He was restless, he did not move. Malcolm was bedbound. Waiting for her to stir. He could not leave the bed for that would be abandonment. His phone and reading of any kind were off-limits because that was neglectful.
“Malcolm, you’re on your phone. Meanwhile, your hot girlfriend is laying beside you.” she would say. In his more rebellious days, before he had been broken, he would have replied with. “I didn’t know there was someone else in the bed.”
Now, it was not worth the argument.
There was to be no cuddling, no intimacy of any kind. If Malcolm held her, there would be no end. She may have instigated in the past, but that felt like forever ago, now she did not. If he instigated, it was because he was “only ever after one thing,”. Malcolm did the only thing he could do. He waited in the bed, stared at the ceiling and hope she would come to of her own accord. Malcolm lay there, mindful of his breathing. Must not disturb her sleep.
This was a bed entirely of his own making. And now he was lying in it, afraid to move.
He felt an itch. Building in intensity down, the outside of his left leg. It was on her side. If he was going to itch, he would have to do it carefully. She was a light sleeper. At least that was the impression she gave. Malcolm looked around at the back of her head. He wondered if she was genuinely asleep.
Was it a test? Everything felt like a test—a test where there was no chance to earn a passing grade. In the past month, Malcolm decided that if there was no chance to pass, what was the point of studying? Malcolm stopped applying himself. Stopped studying and did whatever he could to do the bare minimum.
That was a problem.
The whole relationship could be summed up thus; When Malcolm did something, it was a problem. When she did it, there was a perfectly good reason how dare he question her.
Staring at the ceiling, trying not to think about the need to itch, Malcolm looked back over the relationship. Asked himself how did it come to this, then reminded himself that it did not matter. Malcolm was here. Malcolm was stuck.
The itch burned under his skin, it burrowed a little deeper and spread a little wider. Malcolm resisted the urge. Focused on his breath, in and out. She moved beside him, she knew he had to move. She could not wake up on her own. Why do something when you can blame someone, was the logic of the day.
“You woke me up, you woke me up, you woke me up, now I’m going to be tired for the rest of the day.” if he woke her up. If he didn’t.
Malcolm was bedbound.
“You let me sleep in, you let me sleep in, you let me sleep in, now half the day is gone.”
Was she like that? Malcolm thought, was he over-exaggeration her behaviour. Does it matter if she is or she isn’t? The seed of paranoia had long since sprouted and had taken over the garden.
No matter what happened, he was going to get shouted at. That was why he talked and acted less. He was a grey rock in the relationship. There was a chance he could be completely wrong. She said he was bad, maybe he was. In that case, why did she stay with him? She said it was love. Malcolm was unsure.
All Malcolm knew he had an itch. At this moment, it was the only truth he knew. He may as well make the most of it, he thought to himself.
Malcolm reached out down and etched his thigh. His rubbed against her a little. The force of the itching shook the bed a little too. He knew it would be enough. He knew it would wake her. Malcolm was bedbound.
She turned to him. Brow furrowed, mouth turned upside down. Her face storm clouds ready to unleash the heavens. There was no “Good morning”. (She never said good morning. It wasn’t her job, she would tell Malcolm)
The nervousness and anticipation of the coming torrent formed an involuntary smile on Malcolm’s face. She hated when he did that, it was involuntary, wasn’t it?
“Did I wake you?”
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