Waking Up

It’s 4:53 AM. I push the corner of the pillow away from my eye to make sure I have a few more minutes of rest ahead of me. The red digits on the clock offend my one eye brave enough to peek out.

I pull my feet back under the covers, a thick patchwork quilt and a sheet as old as me, finding warmth they didn’t know they needed. My skin tingles as it wakes up and feels for the first time today. The sheets caress my skin and I roll onto my back to enjoy the sensation. I am so relaxed, every inch of my skin igniting as my senses slowly awaken.

I hear the distant roar of the ocean in the next room, seemingly in harmony with the higher-pitched hum in our room, a white noise lullaby in my ears.

My eyelids are still heavy, not yet ready to wake. My head sinks deeper into my feather pillow. I roll my head to one side and find even greater comfort, a cool spot on my cheek.

I rub my fingers over my exposed skin, along the soft ridges of stretch marks, the long-lasting side effect of pregnancies been and gone, along the smooth skin at my ribs, my smoothest skin, the quilt heavy on my body, knowing this is the greatest contentment of my day. I am cradled in a soft nest, nearly lulled back to sleep, cocooned in darkness, warmth, and the music of white noise.

I roll and press my face and breasts against the one beside me, taking in his warmth with a contented sigh. I run my hand over his back and chest, resting it on his heart, the place it’s most happy. He breathes deeply, and I know I’ve woken him. His heart beats against my hand for a few moments, his body heat another layer of comfort. I run my hand down his body as far as my fingertips allow, just once, as not to disturb him. I settle back in the nest on my side of the bed, letting him steal a precious few more minutes of sleep.

I drift off. My husband wakes. He kisses my lips and leaves the bed quietly. I stretch out my limbs, taking the whole bed, barely aware that he’s left. Sleep comes again easily, then my husband returns to say goodbye. He kisses me again, this time with cool lips, and I take his hand, holding it as he leaves the bed, soft and cool, until our fingertips slip apart. This is our routine.

I know the time to wake is near. I begin to move around under the weight of the sheet and quilt, muscles coming to life one by one, then stretch my legs like my life depends on it, then my arms, sinking back into the bed afterwards, feeling relaxation anew, as a lover relaxes after climax, blood pumping and content, senses heightened, head dizzy, skin tingling and invigorated.

I keep my mind focused only on the stillness and peace of the morning. A thought creeps in, and I push it away, preferring to savor the feeling of my body coming to life, the blood swirling just under my skin.

I push a leg off the bed to test the air. It is cold and offending. My skin stops tingling and the deep relaxation and pure contentment are gone. I pull back all of the covers, the cool air settling on my whole body. I stretch again in a last attempt to find coziness, but there is none. I briefly consider laying down again, but instead my feet swing over the side of the bed and hit the cold floor, further arousing me from my slumber. I sit for a minute, my faculties adjusting to greet the day, my senses sharpening with every passing second.

I am awake.

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