My last thought before sleeping: we are all under the same roof, and when did that last happen?
When did my adult children, my husband and I last prepare for bed in synchrony: changing into bed clothes, brushing teeth, settling beneath sheets?
In the void beneath my eyelids I transport myself many miles north, to years long gone. I imagine my body spinning so that my head points south, as it did in the bed of my youth. Through grainy gray mist, my old room drifts into focus: the octagonal pillars of my great great great grandfather’s bed (how it creaked when I crawled into it); the oval mirror of my dresser on the opposite wall (the first thing I saw upon rising was myself); the lighted mirror on the dressing table (where I separated my tarantula-like lashes with a safety pin); the folding doors of my closet (always popping open, like sharp elbows); the switch plate painted olive (from my blue and green phase). My door connects to the basement recreation room, and beyond it, at the foot of the stairs, my brother’s room, where he sleeps.
Cool air touches my face — always cool, smelling subtly of loam and rain and salt. The heater announces itself with an explosive huff, indignant at being held back for so long, determined to set things right, to restore equilibrium, to defend its charges, to breathe warmth back into the chilling house. When it is satisfied, the duct tick-tick-ticks in satisfaction.
My father shifts in the bed above mine; his snoring a deep, stentorian rumbling; my mother’s, a higher pitched rant. Suddenly he is silent. He is awake, thinking, perhaps, that his children sleep under the same roof, and when had that last happened?
My children — old enough, now, to have children of their own — sleep on. My husband’s breath has relaxed into the soft, slow rhythm I know so well after almost 35 years of marriage. These three, who I love beyond measure (beyond life, beyond time) have given themselves to dreaming. This moment is my blanket, my pillow. Their rest is my rest. I am at peace. And when did that last happen?
4 responses to “Last Thoughts Before Sleep”
Lovely reflection. Beautiful prose. Feels like poetry, & that’s the best kind of prosey to this reader’s ear. Well done.
Thanks for stopping in! Reading this little piece brings back the feeling of that day, like opening my grandmother’s pot pourri jar (it still smells of roses and cinammon though she died in 1961). This night followed a period of turmoil, so when I awakened, I didn’t want to go back to sleep. I just wanted to hold the moment. So I got up and wrote.
So poignant, so lovely, so true. Coming home. Feeling whole. Love…
Crushed my chest with longing.