Between the sheets

“What’s this?” Jason asked the other night, throwing the comforter back.

“Whoa! How did that get there?”

“I don’t know,” Jason replied, pulling the comforter up over himself again.

“I just don’t understand how it got there. We’ve been sleeping on these sheets for a week now, and I never noticed it there. Do you think it just showed up today? How did it get there?”

“I don’t know,” Jason said again, clearly uninterested in solving the mystery. So I turned off the lights and climbed into bed. It was as I laid there in the dark, silently scrutinizing the evidence, that it hit me.

It didn’t matter how it got there. What mattered is what its presence there meant.

* * *

We had originally planned on a European vacation. It was going to be our last hurrah before trading our freedom in for a baby. But I didn’t feel up to coordinating the affair, and the only kind of trip Jason is comfortable planning is one to the bathroom. So we went to the East Coast instead, the one in the United States.

“Where are you going on vacation?” Our friends asked.

“We’re going to start off in White Mountain National Forest, spend a few days in Boston and then take a train up to the coast of Maine.”

“Oh, are you visiting family?” This is the kind of polite thing people ask when they don’t understand why the hell you would choose to travel to, say, Ogunquit.

“No. Neither of us have been there, and we thought it would be fun to check it out.”

And it was. We hiked to more than one absolutely gorgeous waterfall and drove out to the country for homemade ice cream while in New Hampshire. In Boston we had donuts and sugary coffee for breakfast each morning, splurged on a wine pairing at a fancy restaurant and ran a half marathon. We slept in, played cards and watched the sunset.

Still, my favorite leg was Ogunquit. Without realizing it, we saved the best for last. We stayed at such a lovely bed and breakfast. The owner picked us up from the train station himself, and made us feel at home. Large bay windows covered an entire wall of our room, and the sheets were to die for. Seriously. You might think the mention of “high quality linens” on their website is just filler. It’s not.

sheets

It was perfect, the absolute perfect place for Jason to get the worst food poisoning of his life. Karma served up quite the seafood platter our second night there. Jason ended up both planning and executing countless trips to the bathroom. As soon as Jason came up for air a day or so later, I went down. I’m still not sure if it was delayed onset food poisoning or the sympathy flu that sent me racing for the toilet.

Though I may sound a bit facetious, I really am sincere. It was perfect. We spent three days in bed doing absolutely nothing. Three days without any expectations. Three days tucked in between two slices of heaven. God himself likely sleeps on the same brand.

I’ve been thinking a lot about those sheets lately. I can’t seem to get them out of my head. I think about them while I’m lying in bed unable to fall asleep, caught up in a slurry of adrenaline and anxiety. I long for them in the morning when I hear the baby’s waking cries and regret all the sleep I didn’t get the night before.

I wish so hard that I could go back to Ogunquit. I want to sit on the front porch and split a bottle of wine with Jason. I want to play cards and watch the sunset over the water. I want to crawl into bed and wrap myself up in those delicious sheets. I want to go back.

Of course I could go to Ogunquit and do all those things. But I can never go back. I am here now. I have a baby and a postpartum mood disorder. No amount of wondering how I got here is going to change that. Nothing will, not even vacation.

* * *

I closed my eyes and kindly asked the universe for a little peace so I could fall asleep. I slid my foot through the new found hole in the sheets. It had to be at least six inches wide.

“How did it get there?” I wondered one last time before it hit me. It didn’t matter how it got there. What mattered is what its presence there meant.

It was time to buy a new set of sheets. A nice one.

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59 thoughts on “Between the sheets

  1. This was a good read! I love how you said “it didn’t matter…what mattered was what its presence there meant: new sheets!!” Also loved that you went to “the E. Coast *in the US*” ! (-:

  2. You’re such a great writer, I hope you realize that!

    You’ll have your great trips again, trust me. Life will find a new pattern and things will get easier as Ruby gets older.

    • Oh thank you Miss Zippy! That means a lot coming from such a pro! I’m sure life will settle out again (at least that’s what I keep telling myself). In the meantime I get to practice something I’m no good at: patience.

    • Oh thank you Ashley! You are such a great writer too. I kept seeing the Yeah Write badge on blogs I really enjoy (like yours) and figured I should check it out.

  3. Day-um, this is some quality writing. MOre people should use the word slurry. I related to all of this, except I haven’t been to Ogunquit. I had a ski instructor who was from there and he was hot hot hot, so I always wanted to go. Yes, this is some real-deal writing. Glad to see you on Yeah Write.

    • Oh my goodness, you’re making me blush! I mean it. I’m especially flattered because I’ve read your blog and, let’s just say, I’m a big fan. Also, I totally support choosing vacation spots based on hot ski instructors.

  4. Ah… the demise of a bedsheet. My hubby has restless leg syndrome (and sleep apnea and insomnia — he’s AWESOME to sleep with, LOL!) and he rubs holes in the sheets with his heels, so we replace them far more frequently than I’d ever have imagined when I was a newlywed.

    Great post!

    • Thanks! Hmm, I get the occasional restless leg myself. Perhaps that’s how the hole got there… I really was curious how a hole that big got there outside of the wash!

  5. This was really well written. I absolutely loved that there were no throw away one lines. Like “the only thing Jason feels comfortable planning is a trip to the bathroom.” It’s a great line. But you made it really work for the story by following up with “planning and executing many trips to the bathroom.” Great flow, great post!

  6. Doh! You got me. I was expecting something gross… like a dirty diaper or something. LOL

    I agree with everyone else. FANTASTIC writing here. Loved it. 🙂

    We recently found some sheets on a vacation, too, that I want so badly. BAMBOO. I had never heard of such, but we found a store that sold nothing but stuff made from bamboo thread–sheets, towels, clothes… It was all soooooo soft. Someone will be getting me a set of those sheets for Christmas. 😉

    • Oh GOD! A dirty diaper in between the sheets… YUCK! Thanks so much for the compliment!

      Bamboo sheets – crazy. That makes me wonder what my vacation sheets were made out of.

  7. For someone who is COMPLETELY addicted to all things “sheets and linen” I absolutely LOVE this post! There is no greater luxury than curling up between beautiful, soft sheets and resting your head on a beautiful, soft pillow. Ahhhhhh, the tranquility! You’ve just made my day. 🙂

  8. This was beautiful. Oh sometimes how I want to go back too – just for a respite, a vacation, like yours was. But you are right, we’re here now, with our ripped sheets and our memories. Favorite line:

    “Oh, are you visiting family?” This is the kind of polite thing people ask when they don’t understand why the hell you would choose to travel to, say, Ogunquit.

    We took our honeymoon in Minnesota.This resonated. 🙂

    • Thank you!!! I’m so glad you went to Minnesota for your honeymoon. Especially with a honeymoon, but also with any vacation, it probably doesn’t really matter where you go. Taking a break with people you love is really all it takes to have a great time.

  9. Thank you SO much for telling us what was in the sheets! You’re a really great writer. If this was a longer book it would’ve been a page turner. Food poisoning is by far my worst nightmare, but at least you found the good in that terrible situation!

    • Ha! No problem. I could definitely see why you would fear food poisoning, given your whole thing with throwing up. Not that it’s any fun for, well, anyone really.

  10. Also, I SO badly want to take a good vacation but I’m stuck in the middle of wanting to take my kids and definitely not wanting to take my kids and then feeling guilty for wanting to leave my kids. Also, if we did leave the kids home I would probably spend the whole time thinking about if they were ok and saying, “oh Amelia would have loved this!” You’re right… Our lives are forever changed and we can never go back, and it took me a long time to not resent that. But now I try to embrace it.

    • I know Ruby is only 6 months old, but I can already completely understand. I can’t imagine leaving her for a vacation, even though that also sounds awesome. This whole baby/kid business really does change your life in a way I don’t think you can really understand until you have kids. I’m sure I’ll adjust and it will be worth it. I have a feeling it’s just going to take awhile.

  11. Excellent post! There is really nothing like the White Mountains, Maine, and new sheets. I like how you set up this story– making us wait for the mystery and the connection to be solved at the end.

  12. I’ve always said that having good bed linens is so important, and you really described it well here.
    I’m so sorry that you guys became so ill, but at least you didn’t have sandpaper sheets.
    🙂

    • Thanks! It’s not that I want her to go away… I just wish for the peace of mind that was there before she was born. I’m sure with time that peace of mind will come back. Now if only time could hurry up a little!

      • I get you! It’s such a drastic change in your life, and even though my daughter is fantastic, I do sometimes resent how complicated she can make things. Simply going to the grocery, then the drugstore, then the video store is five times harder.

        If I could, I would so give you a huge hug right now. I remember desperately waiting for things to get better – it seemed like forever. You’re so normal you wouldn’t believe it.

  13. This is the second post about Maine I’ve read this summer that makes me want to go there next. It’s funny about the nice sheets. After 20 years of marriage I finally bought some, probably not as nice as those – but pretty close. Once I did I could never go back. It is such a treat to slide in between them. Maybe you should splurge on a new pair? Something to give you a lift. Life is too short. I wish I hadn’t wait to so to give that to myself. And I would have run a half on my vacation –. That carefree time will come again. The baby won’t need you so much at night.

    • Sounds like you’re meant to take a Maine vacation! And I’m definitely going to splurge on a nice set. It’s too much of a coincidence that I’ve been thinking about those sheets and now I have an excuse to buy a new set.

  14. Well, Ogunquit is just about my most favorite place on earth. We live in Boston and have a weekend place in Wells, which is the town next to Ogunquit. It is a little slice of heaven. I understand your love for it and next time you are here. Come visit!

  15. Bed sheets are my nemesis! I can never find ones that fit my bed properly, or wash without without needing to be ironed! YUCK!
    I love the way your planned destination was foregone for a simpler one. Foreshadowing what life will be like once a baby arrives. 🙂

  16. Oh I love this. We finally upgraded our bath towels recently (we’ve been married for 15 years). It is like they are fine, fine, fine and then one day they are SO NOT fine. Isn’t a funny thing. Now I want to go take a nap in clean, fresh sheets! 🙂

  17. Loved the suspense of wondering about the IT. Food poisoning ranks up there as one of my biggest fears, but at least you two were able to make the best of it. I am a sheet snob, and proud of it! 🙂 great piece!

  18. Yes! Get the nice sheets! When you do get to rest, it will feel better 🙂

    My husband got sick when we went on our honeymoon so we spent one day in the hotel room and it was perfect 🙂

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