Once again, I went to bed too late.
And I was so tired, too.
I lay there, trying to sink into the mattress...the pillow...the Earth
trying to just let go of all that I hadn't gotten done
and sleep was slow to come.
Isn't that always the way?
Obviously, at some point, I surrendered and sleep came like a blanket.
But, I didn't grasp that sweet relief until, ironically, you woke me up.
I saw your dark figure, lit from behind by the weak rays of the porch light,
just standing there
willing me to consciousness.
That's how you do it, most nights.
You just stand there.
Because I know, somewhere deep, that you don't like to wake me.
Your goal is not to disturb me.
You just want to be with me.
But that kind of heart-vision is bleary eyed at 1:30 a.m.
I just want to sleep.
So do you.
I escort you back to your bed, the one that you share with your brother, and I see the reason for your waking.
Your bed partner has managed to fall deep into slumber, as he always does, and in the falling, he has begun to explore your side of the mattress, your covers, your stuffed animals.
Even in his sleep he is reaching out to everything around him, just as in the day.
But his endless striving has a flip side and that is your waking.
I curse the night conspirators and shoo you into bed.
I pull up the sheet, tuck it under your chin, smooth your hair from your forehead and plant kisses across your brow,
believing that such rituals will somehow ward off that which disturbs you...
But it is not enough.
There you are again, an hour later.
And another hour, again, after that.
The memory of hours linked together, one after another, bridging the darkness until morning's first light is the stuff of fairy tales and I long for someone to tell me that story again.
At one point, I stir and find you in my bed.
Silently, you melted in between your dad and me.
Your hand, gently searching for mine under the sheet, is what woke me.
That sweet, warm hand.
Reaching out to me.
That is what I must hold onto.
Yes, it seems like you are too old for this.
Yes, I am tired.
Yes. Yes. and Yes.
But that hand.
It is, at once, a gesture... a request... a need... an offering... a truce.
And so, I squeeze it into my own.
My hand, which is big enough to consume...crush...absorb...engulf
it reaches out to
They clasp each other
pulled together by a deep innate power
and there is a humming.
Our hands, linked together in the night, become that bridge I've been chasing after.
The stuff of fairy tales...
we both sleep.