Many nights, my technology-filled brain needs a narrative to fall asleep to. At least that has been the case for a few nights, when, lying in bed, I can’t quite turn off analysis-brain. I lie and think about all the news and all the other things, and I focus on one thing or another until it loses any clarity or focus. I experience stress in a very physiological way, and lately, and often, it’s been through a weird pulsing sensation and achiness near the sinuses in my neck (what the heck? but yeah). This seems to be my body’s way of telling me to shut it down (it being the stress or the thinking causing the stress), and it gives me a sense of what I can think about and what I really can’t. When this happens, I try to tell myself a story, which might be something like this:
It’s snowing outside, and you’re under a blanket. You drank hot chocolate earlier and had a lovely meal of curried lentils with yogurt. You walked in the snow and had thoughts. You talked to a few people, and it was nice.
Other times I imagine a specific place. This place is usually in the woods in a cabin. It’s secluded and safe. The weather isn’t usually relevant. The most important thing is that I’m able to look out the window and see where I am and know that it’s a good place to be.
This place in my mind reminds me of a place where I woke up once, when Julia and Anna and I went to visit some of their friends in Hburg, the night we stayed with Bekka. That night was random-filled and fun, with her mom throwing a party and Paul acting absurdly, trying to flirt with this girl who was conveying clearly how ridiculous she found him. That afternoon we had driven through the South Mississippi dusk and trees, reminding me of Louisiana–which is a different memory than the one I have now, since I hadn’t yet experienced all of the full-blooded, intellectual, solitary angst that college was for me. The next morning, after the parents’ party and Paul’s antics, I woke up and looked out the window and felt that it was perfect–even though I felt overweight at the time, and my hair was super weird so that I messed with it constantly and Anna joked later about a picture of me: Sarah’s probably freaking out about her hair. That morning Anna and Julia and I drove away from Paul, listening to a Kings of Convenience song, and Anna exclaimed something about how very! sad it was and I probably laughed but agreed.
Still, it felt perfect and calm, and I think about it sometimes, and it’s become my place. And that specific place in time and space has flexibly received other esoteric stories and memories of safeness, and it becomes a narrative to fall asleep to.
Waking is important too, yet rarely this restful, because of …”modern life?” Perhaps. But if waking can be calm, I want to take a page from Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life, and have it be like this:
I mean, picture it: you’re lying in an overstuffed bed in the upstairs bedroom of a bed-and-breakfast in Cape Neddick, Maine, just before Christmas, and there’s snow piling high on the ground outside, but it’s warm up there, under the canopy, in the bed. It’s eight’o’clock in the morning. There’s a knock at the door. You roll out of bed. At your feet is a silver tray with one cup, a coffeepot, a cream pitcher, and a sugar bowl. You pick it up, close the door, rest the tray on your bedside table, pour yourself a cup of blackybrown coffee, and you sign back into bed under the comforter and return to the second volume of the Tales of the City series. … And then, of course, there’s breakfast at nine. First there will be pineapple scones, still warm from the baking sheet, and a cloth-lined tin of cinnamon muffins and spice bread. Then a poached pear, buoyed by a pool of Grand Marnier crème anglaise. Then a warm plate with a small poached egg on a bed of puréed spinach, with caramelized apples and a crispy phyllo purse filled with sausage, ricotta, and mushrooms and baked until flaky outside and melting inside. This is breakfast on this almost-Christmas day. You sigh and decide to stay seated right where you are until tea at 4:30 (cranberry linzer tart; ready?).
So yes, I liked poached pears.
I like that for a number of reasons, number one probably being food, but number two probably being a feeling of freedom to do something you desire. But underneath all of that is the feeling of singular happiness that someone would think about you upon waking, and bring you coffee or food, which is something my dad used to do, even though he always added cream and sugar though I only take cream.