I really do believe that I could sleep anywhere my love is, I mean I wouldn’t say the texture of a labour-hewn callus or the soft hair on his forearms or the smell of bar soap works for me in a disembodied way. But when he is gentle it is not a slack soft gentle; it is gentle down to the muscle down to the bone, a kindness held very carefully, and it is so rare, maybe just a few seconds in the dark before he falls asleep, and I don’t want to miss it.
I’m a neurotically light packer, to the point of often needing to borrow socks and buy underpants at the drugstore, but recently a dear friend and I discovered that we’d each packed nearly twenty books for a weeklong rendezvous, and were thus ever ready to read passages out loud to one another at night and then again in the morning over miso soup, and really also all the other times. So, to answer: I almost always travel with poetry books -- they are slim but make the bedside comfortingly messy.
I think this must be true for a lot of people, that saltwater from the ocean cures forgotten cuts and lifts unspecified sadnesses.
Now that there’s a baby, I think a lot about inducing sleep and the sounds that used to lull me to bed: of adults using silverware at dinner, conversation and laughter, the contentment of knowing other people are fine and having fun. I tuck her in with a blanket under her feet, turn off the lights and draw the blinds, but I don’t worry too much about keeping it down. And since these party noises are my soothing noises too, the ones that I associate with bedtime, I often find myself pleasantly drowsy during dinner and conversation, and crawl into bed soon after. Su Wu