She crept quietly through the hallway, maneuvering past the squeakiest boards, and into her parent’s bedroom. Silently she stood, holding her breath, summoning her courage. She reached out her hand pausing for a moment before tapping her mother’s shoulder and then quickly stepping back. If the face of a zombie or skeleton or half-breed monster of some sort turned around to face her, she wanted to be ready to bolt.
As usual, it was just the groggy, partially slit eyes of her half-asleep mother looking up at her.
“Can I sleep here?”, she asked, pointed towards the place where her father had once slept. The place where his pillow still lay, as if waiting for his return.
“Yep. It’ll be just like when you were little.”
Except I’m not, she thought. And I haven’t been for a very long time.
In the morning she was reminded that the sunlight always came through first on the side of the house her parent’s bedroom is on. Why they refused to get curtains she couldn’t understand. Her mother’s idea of sleeping in was pulling the blanket over her head–something she found suffocating and hot.
She squinted, waiting for her eyes to adjust. Her mother was gone. The clock in the far corner read 8:30. She stretched. Slid over to the middle. And then to her mother’s side. Inhaled in the drowsy smell of her pillow. Why did it always smell better than her own? So comforting. It begged her to sleep.
She pulled the sheet over her head and tried it out from there.
Maybe it would be different from her mom’s side.