“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.
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.