When I was home for fall break, I slept over at my aunt’s place with my mom. It had been a while since we shared a bed, but it didn’t feel strange. In fact, I was reminded of when I was a child.
She would tuck me in and then lie next to me. I remember dutifully repeating our home phone and address. I didn’t know why I had to recite these numbers and letters, but I did it without asking. Then the time would come for me to close my eyes and fall asleep. I would grab her hand and hold on for dear life. I always had the same wish, “stay with me through the night.”
But every morning, I woke up to an empty bed.
Gradually, she stopped tucking me in. As she worked later and later into the night, I would tuck myself in.
So when we were lying side by side for the first time in a long time, I couldn’t help but cry. I had to turn away from her so she wouldn’t see because I couldn’t stop.
It hurt to realize that we don’t live together anymore
to know that this is probably the last time we’re so physically close to each other
to know that no matter how tightly I held on to her, she would leave.
I wasn’t surprised when I woke up to an empty bed, but my heavy heart skipped a beat when I heard her voice in the next room.
That’s probably the last time I’ll wake up to her voice too.
I wish you never let go of my hand, but stayed by my side the whole night. I wish you were there for the nightmares and when I woke up screaming. I wish you were here to stroke my hair and to tell me a story about how a tiger was knocking on the door…