A Bedtime Story

Written by: Darryl Davis

You’re in that special position you crochet yourself into when you hear me
coming up the steps , a whole breath between each plod of my
bare feet as they tackle the stairs with all the energy of an alpine climber,
day weary, the rewarding peak still somewhere beyond the mist.

I know you’ve been thinking of this since dinner, in between ladles of mascarpone,
bacon bits and spaghetti you asked at least 4 times if it was your turn tonight,
to which I always answered with profound insistence and a toothy smile that it was.
I know you only ask to stoke my interest, not that you need to.

And now we’re here, pink and blue sheets beneath us both, a spare pillow folded in half
to support your head as the story rolls out familiar, yet warm like the smell of muffins
from a sunlit kitchen on a cold afternoon, a bare branch dangling outside the window,
not unlike the hand you lean upon, your fingers spooling your hair as we go.

Regularly – when you think I’m not looking – I see you peek up to gather my reactions like
a squirrel gathers seeds put out for the cardinals when they think they’re alone, your eyes
clearly hoping to glean something of my day, even my life which I haven’t chosen to share,
two passengers on a train busy pretending they’re not reading each other’s newspapers.

All the while, the story bubbles on until it ends with a drop of tone and a soft clap
of the cover, you slide it to the edge of the bed where all favorite things live privileged,
kiss me on the forehead and wish me goodnight, switching off the light as you leave,
still mulling a twist or two in the plot which you clearly weren’t expecting.