A perfect sleep.
We spend, on average, a third of our life asleep. This is what Wikipedia told me. A commenter from Yahoo! Answers also said that sleep is a loophole for death. I am not sure if this is brilliant or ridiculous, and probably won’t make a decision until after I finish my coffee.
My very best sleep occurred in my 12th or 13th year, hard to pinpoint the exact age. I was going to volleyball camp for a week in the summer. The camp was about an hour away, so my parents dropped me at my Uncles over the weekend and he was to take me to camp on the Monday morn. Going to camp was not a trivial thing… especially a sports related camp. I was not a gifted athlete. But I really hoped to be. And I wanted to make new friends. They didn’t have Drawing Camp or Barbie Clothing Design Camp or Preteen Urban Planning Camp in Conception Bay, so I really had no choice but to put down my pencils, pick a sport and hope for the best.
My Uncle John had a lovely house in a pretty little town. They had wanted to expand their house years before and there was a natural barrier. A giant rock, a boulder, a mountain basically. So they built around it. This giant rock was in the middle of their house, and they had blasted enough to run a small stream of water through the crevices into a sink basin. Uncle John had a waterfall. I loved his house.
I arrived at camp with a smile on my face. I enjoyed the first few hours, although the shy tendencies that I had shooed away during elementary school slowly crept back when forced to make friends with new girls. But I was doing okay. I was doing okay until we actually started playing volleyball.
This was the great divide. After the first 10 minutes, I knew that I was out of my element. And after struggling through the first session before lunch, I had realized that I had nothing to say to these girls. They wanted to talk about volleyball. And play volleyball. During our lunchbreak even. I was performing so poorly at volleyball that I wanted to avoid it at all costs. I had been duped. And one girl threw her kneepad at me. With sheer, unbridled rage. Because I missed the ball. I think I was missing the whole point. That is kind of the world of competitive sport, I guess. This wasn’t just camp. And I didn’t belong.
I made it through the first day and lied awake that night in my little cot, terrified of the next days volleyball-centric events. I didn’t sleep a wink and the next morning came quickly with a 7 am wake up call. Something came over me. I got up out of bed, put on the camp uniform and went straight to the pay phone to call my mom.
“I need to come home” I whispered into the receiver.
She prompted me for an explanation, but I think my silence said it all. Within an hour, my Uncle John was there to pick me up.
I told the counsellor that I had to leave because my Grandmother was sick.
I got in the front seat of his truck and he let us drive in silence, tears streaming down my face in relief and embarrassment.
That night, my Aunt Judy tucked me into the bed in their guest room. The room was dark and tiny, an A-frame roof drawing the walls in tight. The bed took up most of the room. I crawled onto the giant mattress and settled myself smack dab in the middle. She covered me with layer upon layer of thin blankets that together created so much weight. The way a thousand pieces of paper form a heavy, full book. I lied on my back, surrounded by softness and weight, and I cried until I could no more. And then I closed my eyes and fell asleep.
The best sleep of my life. I woke up brand new, and warm, and at peace. Oh, the stress of being 13 and running away from camp! But no matter if you are 13 or 30, there’s nothing like a good cry, a warm bed and a heavy blanket to sort you out.
*Dedicated to Emily & Melanie & Team Awesome Friends.