The closest I had come to camping was sleeping in the forts my sister and I built out of blankets, tables and too much spare time as kids. I had always wanted to camp, to pitch my own tent by a river. It would be beautiful.
When I was 13 my family camped in the Alps. It was beautiful, but I realized that camping just wasn’t. After a few weeks I began to pray for real toilets — even the disgusting squatting type — and the throbbing neck pains I woke up with every morning left me wishing for my bed and my pillow.
It looked disgusting. Yellowed and rotting with sweat, drool, and tears. The remains of a fitted stocking ripping off the strange foam core. “It’s for you. You love this pillow.”
I was overjoyed. I loved him.
His entire bed was “Tempurpedic.” When we lay next to each other we each melted into perfect molds of ourselves, resting in our own body heat and window cool. On a small mattress we managed to sleep in peaceful shrimp curls, knees against calves, nose to spine, pillow shared. The mysterious ticking in his ceiling persisted. A pipe? A mouse?
I have a thing about pillows. My pillows. My pill-ow-s.
I sleep with five, sometimes six: the three I’ve had for over thirty years, soft, airy down so light that together they make up one standard hotel beast. Their covers are faded nearly golden, their cases I choose carefully–deep colors, smooth and cool to the touch.
Don’t ever EVER think about messing with them. Don’t ever think about borrowing one. Looking at them is okay, I guess.
I have plenty of extras for husband, children, pets, guests. But not these. Nuh-uh.
I like no squish at all on my men. I’ve only been with one squishy person (my first) and mostly I was just really excited that someone with a Y chromosome was into me because it had never happened before, squish or no. My best friend, on the other hand, went through what we fondly call “the Tevye phase.” “They make such great pillows and they are so huggable!” she says, always loud. She smiles when she says it. Eyes crinkle. Teeth show. There’s an accompanying fluffing motion. She remembers. I remember. I love that she’s still smiling about it.
Small female and frequent napper seeking mid-seized perfect pillow. Must support neck and always be cool on the other side. Must sustain substantial abuse without complain and be machine washable as outdoor naps are frequent and unannounced. No lumpy applicants permitted. Must keep secrets extremely well and handle being thrown or cried upon. Should be resilient to sleeping in odd positions, locations and adaptable to a variety of surfaces. No funny smells permitted. Need not be compactable, cute, pink, plushy or fuzzy. Can be alive, but must always be ready for a nap. Bony applicants apply else where.
Pillow Redmond was my pillow. It was white and skinny and small so I could hug it. There were blue frills that were once stiff that draped on all four sides. A picture of a bear was the front. It was just sitting there – passively, staring, becoming more inactive as the pillow got older, sitting with blocks forever and never moving. Then the holes came. It was a cold pillow so it was nice at night – I began creeping my hands into the tears and feeling the sturdy mass inside, soothing my skin and making me love my pillow more.