After a reasonable time I admit that I'm awake, irrevocably awake, not just cycling in and out of wakefulness. I sit on the edge of the bed and poke around on the carpet, toes outstretched, reaching for the slippers I know are down there somewhere. A toe grazes the familiar slouchy suede and I ease my foot inside, but the fit is wrong, cramped rather than sliding into the worn, familiar grooves in the leather. Invariably, it's the wrong slipper, the left when it should be the right or vice versa.
My blind search for the other slipper continues, toes creeping along the carpet, then down on hands and knees when it still eludes me. I bump my head on the bedside table. My husband shifts in his sleep.
Shouldn't the odds be 50/50 that my foot would tap the right slipper first?
I reach for my gray terry robe at the end of the bed. It's wadded up under the cat or the dog, the two of them curled like warm crescent rolls, their soft middles rising and falling with even breath. I tug and they shift, enough that I shake the robe free, letting it dangle in the scant moon light as I search for an opening. I slide an arm into the armhole and wind up further blinded by terry cloth, the robe somehow draped over my head rather than hanging down as it should, hopelessly twisted, inside out and backwards.
I extricate myself and try again.
Shouldn't the odds be 50/50 that I get it right the first time?
It's 2 or 3 or 4 in the morning, and I don’t want to wake up my husband and I know I'll regret the lack of sleep but I can't abide the stillness any longer, the slow movement of the clock, my mind stumbling over things I've done and not done, said and not said and about the likelihood I'll ever get it right, when I so rarely do, except when I do, and even knowing that it's all a matter of perspective, rather than numbers or odds or the occasional stroke of dumb luck.
I've been told more than once that I'm a cup half empty kind of person. I don't disagree, though I consider myself more pragmatist than pessimist, infused with a logical and appropriate dose of realism.
I imagine if I kept track of the slippers and the robe, of the times I stumbled on the right shoe and the right armhole first, it might well be that the odds really are 50/50, or even better. I wouldn't be too surprised to discover that these minor inconveniences snag and stick in my mind, and therefore seem predominant, while things that go smoothly tend to slide by unnoticed.
It's now 4:30, as yet no evidence of the sun, though I assume it's coming, and I'm thinking it's likely true that I invert the odds, and also, insomnia aside, my first cup of coffee of the day not just half empty, but fully gone, that I'm nonetheless fortunate, to have such things as slippers and robes, husband and daughter safe, asleep in a yawning house, the heater kicking on with a warm whoosh on this winter's day, the cat and the dog now slumbering beside me on the couch, to be where I am, who I am, despite what I haven't yet done, or said, or written.
For that there's always 2 in the morning, and 3 and 4.
Dorothy, author of GRAY IS THE NEW BLACK, blogs about the challenges and opportunities of being a woman and a writer of a certain age in a youth-centric universe.