I love the way people move around a sleeper. The exaggeratedly slow motions, the subtle attempts to be quiet, the way they step lightly. Have you ever seen a child tiptoe around their dreaming parent? It is the sweetest thing—they invariably seem to make more noise as a result of their awkward little steps, overcareful and unnatural, burdened with an excess of intent.
I confess: I sometimes pretend to have fallen asleep because I love to listen to how others move around me. When I stay at my mom’s apartment, I feign rest for longer than I’ve been awake. I lie there, listening to her quietly put on the kettle for her morning tea. She shuts the refrigerator with elaborate slowness as I stay still, silent, with closed eyes and slowed breath. Of course, I most often experience this sensation around Garrett (my roommate and love). Sometimes, when I am close to sleep or very relaxed, I will feel him begin to pull his arm from out from under me, gradually inching it from under my neck. I could just tell him I’m still awake, and if he wants to go play video games, I don’t mind one bit. But instead I let him extract his arms from my tangles of hair and move out of the room with calculated lightness. The door shuts without a creak, no puff of air to mark the insignificant transition from one state to the next.
I’m not sorry for this little white lie, because it is such a happy thing, to be taken care of as you sleep.
Image: Picture by the very talented illustrator Roberta Zeta. See more here.