Woke up in the wee hours and laid there thinking about touch points… the little comforts of skin to skin… the way his foot tends to feel for me in his sleep until a toe just touches my leg; but, sometimes his foot will linger, like when he gently cupped my bent knee with the insole of his foot. Or, how his bum always wiggles up to touch my belly when we spoon with space between us. And how my fingers inadvertently touch his fingers when I stretch in my sleep and reach for one of the iron rails of the headboard only to discover that his hand is already wrapped around the same post.
I was thinking about how each little touch arouses me and comforts me in that twilight moment between half awake and half asleep before drifting out again. I was feeling fuzzy warm about our relationship, smiling to myself, and thinking of how nice it is to share a bed with this man. And then he rolls over with that fucking pillow, hugging it like a teddy bear squished in between us, and I cannot tolerate that damn thing touching me.
There is something about a pillow touching the small of my back or pushed up against my belly that makes my skin crawl. I can’t stand it. I have to get away. Sometimes, there is not enough space on the bed to distance myself far enough away from that pillow so it does not touch me.
Any effort to remove the pillow will rudely awaken him akin to snatching a bottle from a hungry baby. Nah, it is more like poking a hibernating bear. The resulting pillow fight would not be playful. It is best just to exit the room until he rolls back over, taking the offensive pillow with him.
So, that’s why I was up in the wee hours, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes in the kitchen, typing the draft of this via one finger taps on my phone.
I can’t explain why it bothers me so much. It is not the texture as the pillow is identical to one of my own and all our pillowcases and sheets are made of soothing cotton fabric. Perhaps feeling that pillow triggers some kind of body memory as it jerks me instantly awake and it always takes a while before the repulsion fades. I’ve racked my mind for clues, but my brain will not release any bad memories involving pillows.
An hour or so later, still before the light of dawn, I slipped back into bed. He had rolled with his back towards me, but was still hugging his pretend teddy bear. I didn’t want him to roll back over with it, so I was careful not to touch him. I had snuggled in, got myself all comfy and warm curled up with my back to his back with space between us, when his foot found me. I drifted off to sleep listening to the sound of his soft snores while his heel rested in the curve of the instep of my sole.
Awe, the sweet comfort of his gentle touch.
MANY HOURS LATER: I know what it is… I can’t stand the pillow touching me when he is breathing near me at the same time. Therein hides the memories. It’s not about pillows. It’s about teddy bears and the child I used to be so long ago silently whispering her own little #metoo.
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