Onto the the naked rectangle of mattress, I pull a fitted sheet. Over it, the cover sheet billows and settles. The blanket adds weight, and the quilt retains heat. When the topsheet is turned back, it exposes the floral trim, little embroidered knots in cream and green. All of the layers are sundried and smell of grass.
I like to tuck the sheets in tight, so that they are hard to get into at night. I want to feel like I am in a tight cocoon. I imagine cold cotton arms are pressing me to the bed, and with no fight left in me, I have no choice but to sleep.
I cringe with discomfort when he first untucks the sheets and tears back the quilt. He unmakes the bed, and pulls me in after. He is an incongruous darkness against white lace, a hot brick to warm the bed. The covers are loose and warm, the night long.
In the morning, I need to remake the bed, but my knees are weak, my arms are limp, and I know it won’t ever be the same.
Shawn McClure is a visual artist and writer who resides in central New Jersey with her family. Her work has been published in Unbroken Journal, Kindred Magazine, and Entropy, among others.