On this the princess had to lie all night

By 3:00 this morning, I’d given up on sleep. It was hot in my apartment and I couldn’t lie still or I’d start to melt into the mattress. I’d shift to a cool spot between the sheets. Listen to the heater (like baby birds in the morning). Swallow around the thirst on the back of my tongue. Shift to a cooler spot. Listen to the heater (an orchestra tuning up). Swallow.

At 3:30, I decided to pass the time watching for the beginning of the snow storm. By 3:36, I’d given up on that, too.

Sometimes inventory helps me doze off. I closed my eyes and pictured the objects on my nightstand: reading lamp, lime green hair elastic, tiny zip-lock bag with a spare button, Love in the Time of Cholera, pink bracelet that I can’t get on or off without help, J. Crew catalog. That was too easy. I snapped on the reading lamp and flipped open the catalog. Sometimes product descriptions lull me into dreams about ballet flats and beach dresses.

Instead, I started a “resort wear for imaginary winter vacation to Belize” shopping list.

Lists! Lists always placate my mind. I poked around for the notepad upon which I’d written a to-do list for the weekend and started ticking off tasks: write thank you notes, finish unpacking, gym, vacuum, Target, donate old clothes, put new sheets on the bed—whoops. Hadn’t gotten around to that.

And I’d crossed it off the list.

I mean, what would you have done? Tell me you would not have gotten up, pushed all the pillows on to the floor, stripped the bed, unpacked the 400-thread count sheets your parents gave you for Christmas and made up the bed with them, with hospital corners and double-layered pillowcases and a spritz of linen scent at 3:48 AM?

Or maybe that’s just me.

Oh man, I love these sheets. They are pre-washed, still starchy-shiny, but already they are so soft, and so smooth that they seem barely there.

I have this picayune anxiety that I’ll become more and more spoiled by bed linens, hardening myself to consecutively higher thread counts until I liken four-figures to sandpaper and develop an immunity to softness. Luckily, I was able to put the fated curse of The Princess and The Pea out of my mind and manage about two hours and ten minutes of fairy tale slumber. I never wanted to get out of bed.