We begin, always, with a perfectly-made bed. The sheet and the cotton blanket and the quilt tuck tightly between the mattress and footboard. I always wanted a footboard, so the sheets could tightly tuck, and for our fifth anniversary we bought a bed with a footboard.
And that was when I learned that I had married too tall. I'd never be able to enjoy the tight tuck.
I love to climb into a freshly made bed by disturbing the layers as little as possible and fall asleep against the snug restraint of the tight tuck.
The too-tall husband loves to climb in the bed and kick until he wiggles some free space into his foot area. He ruins my tight tuck.
Night after night, he wiggles and kicks and finds his long legs some freedom until the tuck is entirely non-existent. And then, when the cycle is behaving particularly cruelly, right then he leaves town, leaving me, literally, unanchored in a sea of swimming bed sheets.
And then his children grow more insomniac with each passing night of his absence, and one or more will begin migrating to our bed to sleep on his pillow as sad substitute for sleeping in the afterwhisper of his goodnight kiss.
This is how, two nights ago, I went upstairs to find a child brazenly asleep in our bed. Customarily, they have the courtesy to wait until the middle of the night, feign distress, and accept an invitation to slumber in our space. But this child had plainly walked right in and made herself comfortable.
Image via yewenyi
I could not, at that moment, discern which child it was, only that she had gathered all of the (non-anchored, easily gatherable) bedsheets, blanket and quilt and piled them upon herself in the middle of the mattress, like a snuggly child-hibernating version of a burial mound. I had two choices: to lie on the bed perimeter, cold and uncovered, or go sleep in her bed. That bed, it turned out, was L's. A poor choice: it's a twin that's three-quarters filled with hard plastic naked baby dolls.
We're entering night four of the lovely husband's current absence (also known as the first of ten nights he'll be gone out of the next 25). My bed is a disheveled disaster. I'm going to climb in it while I can still claim some sovereignty.