Every few nights I sleep in a different bed.
Every few nights I fall asleep on new pillows. Every few nights I tuck a different blanket beneath my chin. Sofas, futons, air mattresses, loveseats, guest beds, kids’ beds, rinse and repeat. Every few days I take my clear plastic toiletry bag, my five sweaters, my jeans, my three pairs of shoes, my curling iron, my clutch purse, my travel jewelry box, my underwear, and my cocktail dress (just in case), fold and wedge them into my rolling black suitcase to be hauled to my new sleeping location. Zip and roll.
I’ve stayed in Manhattan: East Village, Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Midtown, SoHo, Greenwich. I’ve stayed in Brooklyn: Williamsburg, Bushwick, Crown Heights, Bay Ridge, Prospect Heights. I’ve stayed in D.C. I’ve stayed with people I know. I’ve stayed with people I don’t know. I’ve slept on loveseats that threw my back out. I’ve slept on memory foam mattresses that lulled me into 14 hours of slumber. I was downtown when the power went out for four days during Hurricane Sandy. I was at a friend’s country home upstate when the power came back on.
Every few weeks I visit my storage unit on 11th Avenue. I take the elevator and walk to the very back and climb the ladder to open my white tin box of belongings, and switch out shoes, exchange coats, or drop off something I’ve discovered I don’t need. Seven months so far. I’ve gone down a dress size.
I go to the park. I sit and listen to the redheaded piano player in Washington Square. I discover giant, magical swing sets in hidden mansions on the Upper East Side. I make friends with a carriage horse in Columbus Circle. I find a new favorite chocolate chip cookie. I see every movie nominated for an Oscar this year. I see plays. I go to the ballet. I visit the White House. Twice.
And every night I return to my suitcase. To my sofa/futon/air mattress/love seat/guest bed/kids’ bed. I put my earrings in my jewelry box. I fold my sweater and put it in my suitcase. I wash my face and fall asleep on foreign pillows that have become my fleeting rest. And dream of cherry orchards in bloom.