It’s hard to not recall Rose Macauley’s immaculate essay “Going to Bed” from her book, “Particular Pleasures” while I’m writing this. I especially adore her sister essay “Not Getting Out of Bed,” but I’m not the stylist Rose is, nor am I erudite enough to sprinkle all those words I’ve literally never heard in my life in my low rent blog, as Rose does in her essays. But the granddaughter of Thomas Babbington Macauley and I have one sisterly theme in common: the bliss of the bed.
I’m not discounting the carnal pleasures of going to bed, or that snug spaniel lying over your toes in February, or a tousled toddler creeping in to lie between his parents. They’re all good, but I’m just talking about that miraculous piece of furniture designed to soothe and pleasure us into rest. Or, in my insomniac case, a soft scented platform on which I can read thrillers and sip water from the carafe on the nightstand, and disobey that childhood television warning: “Don’t smoke in bed.” Once a night, I do.
I don’t iron my sheets –geez – but I do iron my pillowcases, and that crisp cotton beneath my sagging cheeks is delicious. Sleep, as WS said, does “Ravel up the ragged sleeve of care,” but not so much for me. I wake up every two hours, have dreams that are a cross between Fellini and Chucky, heavy on family guilt and endless wandering and searching. I literally can’t remember a good dream, but when I’m shocked awake I say: “Just another shitty scary dream. Let me take a sip of water and pound my pillows and slip down again into this bonny bed.”
And I sink, once again, into my good mattress and good enough count thread sheets. My legs go limp, and I think about all the kids in Haiti and Darfur who sleep on the ground with no blankets. I send them my love.
Then my body stretches out, Willow rearranges herself on the bed and I count my blessings. Bed.