Still reluctant to open her eyes, Alice decided that the best thing to do was to explore that new territory with her hands and feet first. She soon realized that she could perform this tactile space recognition with her entire body, since she was completely naked.
Far from being upset, she actually smiled, remembering how she loved waking up to find herself in a place that was not the one she expected – a hotel room in the very first day of a holiday, a friend’s house after a slumber party, her summer house in an unexpected winter trip. She loved that fraction of second when you realize that instead of rushing into everyday routine you are going to be able to stretch yourself and, with that feeling of joyful excitement of who just won an unexpected present, crawl back under the sheets and plan the day ahead of you.
That had happened a lot, she recalled, when she moved out of her parents’ house. Sometimes, when she was still in that sleeping-awake state, right before actually waking up, she would expect to open her eyes (always one at a time, in order to make the transition slower and blurrier) and find herself in her old room back home. Not that that was not good, but actually waking up and realizing that she was in her own house, spreading herself in her own double bed and in control of her own life was just a bliss. Also, she had finally gotten an old wish – a bed in the corner of the room. It was a silly wish, she knew, but she just found it incredibly cozier to have walls beside and behind her bed
She also remembered a very old story, one that her mother loved to tell everyone in order to stress how the signs of her independency showed even before she stopped peeing in her bed – literally. According to her mum, at the age of about four, having wetted her bed in her sleep yet again and not being able to wake mum and dad up with the usual mumbling, she picked up the pillow and the duvet – the latter having escaped unharmed from the incident by being kicked down to the edge of the bed – , took her pajamas off, and set camp on the floor. The next morning, when she entered the room, her mother nearly cried, as she spotted her child fast asleep on the carpet, laying on one half of a duvet and covering herself with the other half, her wet pajamas scattered close to the bed. ‘You looked so tiny and fragile and I just felt like the worst mum in the world for not waking up’, she would say. ‘But then I realized how much that meant in terms of your personality. So young and already so strong’.
Until that day Alice just felt embarrassed by the whole story, especially because her mum usually picked the worst scenarios for telling it; basically the one’s involving recently introduced boyfriends. But thinking about it at that particular moment, it was actually quite sweet; and quite true. She was feeling at her most independent. And she was again naked and rolled up in a duvet, except that now it wouldn’t be her mum to wake her up.
She finally decided it was time to open her eyes, as the memories from the previous night were finally catching up with her and she realized that there was nothing to be embarrassed or afraid of. She was actually quite excited about it. Definitely puzzled, but more curious and eager for the unfolding of that new story than anything else. And yet she hesitated for second, knowing that the first thing she spotted would be forever linked to waking up in his bed, and so she hoped not for a ‘Playboy-bunny-of-the-month’ poster.
Deciding to break the ‘one eye at a time’ rule – she enjoyed breaking her own silly rules as much as she loved making them – she rolled to her right side and opened both eyes at the same time, only to find her nose standing less than 30cm away from a wall.
‘A corner bed’, she thought, ‘couldn’t have started better’.