It had been a while. A while since there had been a toothbrush next to mine in the bathroom cabinet. The noise of the shower running while I’m away in the kitchen. A warm body next to mine as I come to bed.
This familiar presence in a house that makes it a home. The closeness, the comfort. Oh, it feels good to share the little things with another human being, unpack the day in the after hours, warming ourselves up with funny stories in the still cold evening, eating snacks before calling it a night.
I don’t think we’re meant to live alone, even more so sleep alone.
The whole bedtime routine I love to share with someone. The blessed among us will remember the early days we wanted to go on forever, and how our parents carefully planned the after-dinner program until we got to listen to one more story before closing our eyes (or pretending to).
As a kid, I loved bath time. Unlike most children, I was actually asking for it. There’s something about getting in your PJs after a long day (at kinder garden). I kept the habit and still take my shower first thing when I get home.
Then my sister and I must’ve brushed our teeth, I can’t remember quite well this part. What I do remember though is getting under the covers and listening to my dad’s jokes. In true style. From the hood dad jokes. The same night after night, always the best. After all, why change a working formula?
Can’t find a better way to go to bed than with a huge smile on your face. That’s what we did every night. My dad would give us a kiss and wish us both goodnight before turning off the light.
Let’s the party started.
Of course, there was no way I was getting to sleep. Using all my big sister authority, I coaxed my little munchkin into all sorts of very funny games (says who).
My favorite one was spying on our parents and listening to their TV shows. By listening, I really mean listening, as they were downstairs and we couldn’t see anything. We were to discreetly walk from our yellow Mickey Mouse decorated bedroom, avoiding all the noisy tiles of our marquetry, up to the top of the stairs and then listen to the canned laughter of Friends. Of course, little know-it-all 6 year-old me laughed along, pretending to be wise enough (and first and foremost bilingual) to get the jokes.
So many wild adventures. My poor sister.
I can’t quite remember the part where we got back to bed (clearly, brushing my teeth and falling asleep are not my fondest memories). So I can’t remember what it felt like. But what I know is that sleeping next to my sister all those years created an indestructible bond.
Because of this precious moment when your breath slows down and you fall away. Something quite magical happens when your conscious mind releases, leaving all space to your vulnerable dreaming state. When both souls unite in the quietness of the dark, surrendering, completely letting go of all fears.
On and off over the years, my sister and I shared our room, and sometimes our bed. In university, we lived so close to each other in a tiny loft downtown everyone thought we would get crazy. True, I couldn’t have lived there with anyone else, but because of all those nights spent together, our souls knew each other’s rhythm already, which made it possible (plus the fact that my sister is the most compassionate and understanding person in the entire world to be able to handle my strong character and *sometimes* moodiness). We spent our nights together there for three years, until she met her boyfriend and moved away, for much more interesting wild night adventures than I could ever propose her I’m sure.
I eventually find myself a pretty impressive boyfriend too, who also took me on wild night adventures. But once the honey moon phase faded and we stopped licking each other’s face long enough to take a breath and get a good night sleep, I started feeling the same comfort and level of intimacy I had sharing my sweetest dreams with my sister.
There was not a single night I didn’t thank God for going to bed next to someone I loved. Despite our challenges, no matter what happened during the day, our souls were to reunite once again once the light turned off. Even to this day, I still have a huge amount of gratitude to him for holding me tight all through my dark night of the soul.
All this to say I miss sleeping with someone. This sleepover made me realize how much my soul was craving the proximity of a human when things get a little spooky. No big lesson here, no aha moment. Just the realization that what matters the most is not often what happens in the sunlight, the action, the big accomplishments. In the quiet your true self is revealed, and who you get to share it with matters as much if not more than who you pretend to be and with whom during the day.
I hope you too get to spend the night once in a while at least, many more times if you’re lucky, with someone you love as much as I love my little sister, for a sleepover in memory of those evenings we wanted to last forever.