The Scent of Ghosts

I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and find Juteau sleeping in the purple tub. Her hair is draped over the back of it, and it hangs in dark waves over the porcelain. She breathes softly and her eyelids twitch as I slip into the room, but she doesn’t wake.

I don’t know what to do with her. Each night, she falls asleep in her bed, and each night she ends up sleepwalking herself somewhere else in the house. I don’t worry about her injuring herself so much any longer, but I am concerned that she’s grinding herself to a nub sleeping as she does. She certainly can’t be getting a very restful sleep this way.

I can’t say as I’m doing much better in that department myself. I’m not sleeping well either, finding it hard to get there and even harder to stay that way once I do. I thought at first that it was Juteau’s unconscious wandering that was keeping me awake or skating along the fuzzy edge of sleep, but I think that’s not actually the case. Last night I began to fall asleep, and just as I was about to cross into it, I felt Nikola drape his arm over my waist. I snapped awake, and found myself alone in the bed. Of course I was alone. Nikola hasn’t been in my bed since September.

The night before, I smelled his scent on my pillow. I’d bought new sheets and pillowcases after he left, and stuffed the old ones in the top of my closet, where they have been since last year. The only heads that have touched the new linen are mine and Bez’s.

Last week, I heard his motorcycle in my back yard start up, and when I went out to see what was happening, it was standing where it always had been, riderless, engine off. I told myself that it must have been another motorcycle at a neighbor’s house that I’d heard. Before I went back inside, I took the key from the ignition and returned it to the hook hanging by the back door where I’d hung it months ago.

I can tell Bez thinks I am doing some sleepwalking of my own, although she hasn’t come out and said it yet. She will, though. There is no one who speaks her mind quite so loudly and regularly as Bez.

It is two in the morning now, when all normal people should be sleeping, curled in their blankets like unworried children. Sleeping in the bath doesn’t count as normal, but I won’t hold it against Juteau. At least she is asleep. I back out of the bathroom and go to use the one downstairs. On my way back up, I grab a blanket from the sofa and bring it up to cover her. If she’s finding a small bit of comfort and solace in my tub, I’m not about to wake her and make her get out of it.

In my own bed, I feel awkward and uncomfortable, like trying to sleep on a stranger’s mattress. The springs poke and press, the sheets coarsely rub me, and I roll from one side of the bed to the other, trying to find an elusive spot that will hold me in comfort until I can sleep.

In the end, I get up and go back downstairs. I am no stranger to sleeping on the sofa, and tonight it offers me more comfort than does my own bed.

When did the nights around here become so rough?

And when are they going to stop being that way?



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5 responses to “The Scent of Ghosts”

  1. Roxanne Avatar

    I love the way you weave words. Words as lovely as you.

    1. Kameko Avatar

      I’m going to show up on your doorstep some day, you keep fluffing me up like that.

  2. Bianca Avatar

    I have hope that your ghosts are full of portent and that your new houseguest finds a measure of peace.

    1. Kameko Avatar

      So nice to see you again! I’ve been wondering where you’d gotten to…

      1. Bianca Avatar

        I have been contemplating my navel, mostly. Surprising, the solemn truths to be found there.

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