Sleep

by nicolecallihan

Last night, I stumbled into the city for a meeting with my writing group, and I was gone for hours. The sun set; the air warmed a bit with a front moving in, and I was alone. No one offered me a seat on the train or held the door for me; no one smiled or nodded or asked how old she was. It was just me and my book and the silver belly of the subway.

I remember a friend telling me that once you have a child you never sleep the same again. And it’s true–I seem to stay on the topmost layer of sleep, as if I’m barely skimming its surface, barely running my hand the length of it. My dreams are scattered and sporadic: steak houses, old haunts, beaches, but they leave me as quickly as I find them.

This morning when Eva woke I went to her and she seemed so small. She’s been growing and growing, and every day she seems bigger, but this morning I was reminded of how new she is to the world. I changed her and nursed her and held her, and she slept again while I watched her dreams pass over her face. That is what I’m doing still, watching her sleep, remembering what it was like to not be so starkly aware of being alone, remembering my old sleep, running my hand over the surface of my silver-bellied dreams.