I put my blanket into the washer yesterday morning, transferring it into the dryer later and out and back onto the bed by 9p. I grabbed two corners and spread it evenly under the pillows.
I looked at the holes in it and tried to determine which were natural wear and which had been the result of living with a rat. The cats took care of the rat and eventually I carried my blanket on to my next place of sleeping.
Each night I pull the blanket over me. Whether I fall asleep feeling content or crying, counting sheep or counting the nights since I’ve slept, it’s the same blanket.
It was a used blanket seven years ago when I arrived home with a box of photographs and poetry, and a bag of clothes but no place to sleep. A friend found a mattress by the side of the road. She helped me drag it home and she gave me the blanket.
I spent many of my first nights with it crying myself to sleep. Most of my first couple of years with the blanket would be difficult. It is normal to retreat to one’s bed when life becomes overwhelming. The blanket has become familiar with how overwhelmed by life I can be.
Its red and blue sides don’t match my sheets. I sleep with the red side down afraid that I will subconsciously be affected by allowing the color red to be displayed as I sleep. I imagine it glowing in the darkness, agitating me, angering me, creating a sleep disturbance. I try to visualize the blanket as entirely blue.
I’ve begun to worry about it now that I’m feeling better each day, each year we spend together. I begin to worry I may decide it’s time for a change, for a new blanket, a grown- up blanket. I may decide I want to forget about the rat or coming home on the Greyhound bus with a broken heart.
The time is much later than I’d like it to be now and I’m not sure sleep will come easy tonight. It is cold enough that I will need to pull the blanket over my head to stay warm and I’m certainly not feeling at ease over the day’s events.
Someday I may want to forget about tonight, about today, about the last two months. Someday I might want to forget about the origins of the blanket entirely but tonight it waits for me blue side up.