THREE BEDS


1. In Beaulieu, bright, white light came in through the iron-paned hotel window each morning. The view was of the sea, impossibly blue. On our first afternoon, we were stunned by the price of a salad. It is expensive to eat lettuce by the sea. But I thought it was worth every centime. In the morning light, I lay in bed, watched the ceiling fan turn, and felt the hot air move. I was careful not to stir, not to wake my sleeping husband.


2. In college, I slept on an extra-long twin bed. The room had florescent lights that buzzed like insects come to nest. Our thin carpet did little to cushion the hard linoleum tile underfoot. The radiator clanked and hissed all night, but we didn't care. We stayed up til all hours, woke up late, and went to class hungry. I learned about Brancusi on an empty stomach.

3. Every room in the old house on the bay had pine floors, pine walls, and pine ceilings. The bedrooms were furnished with iron beds and pine built-in chests of drawers, where I stowed my shorts and bathing suits each summer. The pine gave the bedrooms a darkness, made them smell of sap. On the beds, frayed white chenille coverlets that my great-grandmother must have chosen half a century before. Dormer windows let in only a limp, briny breeze, and we sweltered in the heat. At night, we kicked the bedspreads away in hot, languid exasperation. Ever since they sold the place, I have kept a vintage coverlet on my bed.


I didn’t take a cellphone to bed back then. No one did. We just lay there, and slept.