Sunday, January 28, 2007

An Old Pillow

After he leaves for the airport she goes back to bed for a while, nuzzling into the pillow as if to blank out the day, trying to find in it the sleep she has misplaced. Absently, her hand slips inside the pillowcase, finds a small tear in the fabric's skin. When did that happen? For a moment her fingers slip right inside the pillow, feeling the dry, crumbling texture of its foam. It's an unpleasant sensation, like touching mouldy bread, and she withdraws her hand quickly.

She supposes it's inevitable. This pillow is old, after all, it's been years since they bought it. How plump it had been then, how soft and fluffy, how easy to sink into. Not this thin rectangle of shrivelled foam lying defeated under her head.

Perhaps it's time to get a new pillow. But she likes this one now, has grown used to it. She remembers that night in the hotel room a year ago, when they'd gone for his aunt's funeral, how she'd tossed and turned all night until he thought it was because the ceremony upset her, when really it was just that the pillow was too thick and she'd felt suffocated. How she'd eventually had to throw the pillow down on the floor and sleep without. And the pain in her neck the morning afterwards.

No, better to stick with this old pillow - the one that she has adjusted to, the one that has adjusted itself to the shape of her sleep.

She sighs. No chance of sleep now. She gets out of bed and leans over to straighten the pillowcase, making sure the flap of cloth overlaps the pillow completely. Then she puts the pillow back on the bed and looks down at it. From up here, she thinks, no one can tell the difference.

7 comments:

Ruks said...

Metaphorically wonderful!

not listening said...

Hmm..nice yes but too obvious. Your metaphors and analogies are usually very subtle,and all the more poignant because of their subtlety. Here the way you're makin your point is way too in-your-face. No reading btween the lines,no cause for pausing n thinking:(

Revealed said...

Nice but I have to admit too obvious. Still *some* cause for pausing and thinking, but really kinda slapdash for you.

bess said...

It's only obvious because so many of us who relate to it.

Swathi said...

y does this remind me of myself?

Anonymous said...

falsie: nice attempt. but a few questions. what about dandruff and head detritus that gets left behind on pillows, esp old ones? you know when you wash them but they still don't go away and eventually merge into the cream fluff of the pillow so that you don't dare shake it too hard? and the smell of human sweat on the pillow? and the stains all over? Surely you can't have missed that, you acute observer of the human soul?

n!

Anonymous said...

Nope !! I dint think it was obvious at all, as a matter of fact I'm not sure if I still got it :) - i know its embarrassing .. ! :(