Sleeping Alone

Sleeping Alone

Sleeping Alone

I was in my late teens when we moved into a new house with honey-brown wood floors and a distinctly 1950s vibe, complete with fun, elegant built-ins and little touches that made our new home unique.

My family purchased the home without me, while I was at Tae Kwon Do. It was the middle of winter and it is possible that they were lured in by the wonderfully cozy wood-burning stove in the basement. Regardless, we moved right around Easter, just after I turned seventeen.

My room had yellow walls, perfectly suited to the little girl who had come before me. I left behind green walls (in different shades above and beneath the chair rails) with large daisies freehanded by a young artist friend of mine, coupled with my painstaking stencils of Bible verses and a favorite quote from You’ve Got Mail: “Don’t you think that daisies are the friendliest flowers?”

In my new space, I chose to mute the brightness of the butter yellow with a few sponges and some eggshell paint.

My walls have looked the same for nearly a decade. Yellow is still one of my favorite colors.

Shortly after we moved in, I started asking for a queen-sized bed. I no longer thought, as I did when I was younger, that there must also be a princess bed (for the younger royal), but it still held that dazzlingly romantic appeal. A queen bed.

My parents found a second-hand bedroom set (which included a queen-sized bed) and we went to check it out. In the end, they decided to add the armoire and chest of drawers to their bedroom, and I got the bed (which came with a set of satin sheets).

It was a dream come true.

I reveled in the space (and the slipperiness of the sheets), enjoying the luxury of sleeping diagonally, or traveling during the night.

I lived in the dorms throughout my college experience, and returned to a twin bed, stacked, at one point, with two other beds on top of it. As we moved things around from one semester to another, I learned to ask that the configuration allow me to sit up in bed. (If it weren’t for that, I’m not sure that I would have been able to finish Harry Potter so quickly).

On breaks from school, I would come home to my queen bed and comment aloud on the loveliness of it all.

When I graduated from college and returned to my hometown (and home-bed) I exclaimed, at first, about all of the luxuries I’d taken for granted before I’d gone away to school (bathroom doors that shut!), including my bed. But somewhere along the way, I started to sleep on one side of the bed. Always the same one. Perhaps it was because it was close to my bedside table, where I kept my books and my reading lamp, but part of me thinks that it was those words at the back of my mind, the ones that reminded me not to get too set in my ways or there wouldn’t be room for a partner in my life.

And so I left room. I left room in my bed, hoping it would reflect the room I was leaving in my heart.

I would not be set in my ways.

The last few years have taught me that I am willing to adapt to new circumstances, almost to a fault. I’ve had to learn to discover and discuss my own preferences, not always so that I can put myself first, but so that I know whether I’m making a sacrifice or not.

The last few months have taught me that I sleep just fine in close quarters with people I appreciate, as I’ve gone from conferences to sleepovers with friends.

So lately, as a new discipline, I’m placing my pillows in the middle of the bed. I’m spreading out when I feel like it, enjoying the feel of newly shaved legs on jersey sheets.