Sleeping Arrangement

Diana Chartier


My sister Debbie and I shared a bed. A double bed, solid and unmoving regardless of how much we wriggled, one side open with the floor ready to catch the one who fell. A headboard and footboard of solid wood enclosed us at each end. The posts had square tops that were perfect for saving the bubble gum we rarely had. A wall held us safe on the last side. The thick mattress was high off the ground, so high I had to boost Debbie onto the bed.


Some nights our heads lay beside each other. Debs with her blondish hair and my own, so dark to be almost black, fanned across the white pillowcases. Other nights we lay so that her freshly bathed toes tickled my nose. Always there, underneath the cotton sheet was another sheet. This one was plastic.


On the coldest night this sheet felt like ice, and the bed wrinkled and crinkled as we moved. On hot nights we stuck to it, even with breezes coming through the open window. It did not matter what we did or how hard we tried, the sheet would be messed up, requiring us to make the bed each morning.


This was more than protection for the mattress. The plastic sheet was supposed to make sleep uncomfortable for the bedwetter. Dribble by nature and Dribble by name, Debs suffered, and unfortunately, because we shared a bed, so did I.


I was glad when Michelle, my youngest sister, came along. Sweet smelling and soft, she became the third person in the room and necessitated single beds. I no longer had to sleep on a plastic sheet. Debs had the sheet to herself.


However, I loved my sister, and now I missed her. For all that I was glad to have my own bed, I missed her toes and the warmth of knowing someone else was there.


Debs did grow up and no longer sleeps on a plastic sheet. I share a bed with another, but the fun is different, and sometimes I long for those long past nights with no responsibility other than to sleep and the laughter of toes tickling the nose.