He couldn’t sleep, so he got up. That’s what his mother said to do, what she said to his father if he complained about waking in the night. “I toss and turn,” Dad would say.
“Get up. Just get up,” his mother said, “ but, for God’s sake, do it quietly. Don’t wake the whole house.”
She had no patience for insomniacs, claimed she went to sleep the minute her head hit the pillow. ”Any fool can sleep. Most natural thing in the world.”
So Will was up, in his pajamas, placing one bare foot, then the other on the stair, toe first, heel down slowly. He made a game of moving without sound, as silent as a cat, holding his breath with each soft step until he was down, in the living room where his father had descended before him and was now sitting on the sofa wrapped in an afghan, staring at the fireplace. Dad had made a small, silent fire and was watching the fingers of flame when Will slid into his lap, lay his head against his chest—silently—and, as the fire slowed, burned to embers, and quietly went out, they both slept.
Most natural thing in the world.
© Kathleen Coskran 2014