Three straight weeks away from home, and for the next seven days I get to remain on my home turf before leaving again.
I have to admit I am often an unfaithful traveler. Always there is so much more bed than I need for myself, how could I not be? So nights on the road, as my eyes start to droop over whatever book I’m reading, I usually don’t bother to place it on the bedside table; it spends the night at arm’s length beside me. Sometimes when I wake in the semi-dark — I never sleep all through the night, which is why I keep a companion close in the first place — I find my hand resting on its cover. It’s then, in a moment of confusion, air conditioner blasting and rattling, the hair at my neck damp with sweat, I have to pause until I can remember the name it came to me as, and what the last thing was we’d experienced together.
Such a moment has never rivaled waking in the night, having returned home, to find my hand come to rest against Julia’s flank, or, even better, against the warm curve of her hip. No book has ever incited me to a further caress or two, or evoked such an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be there in that moment.
Nor has any book ever responded.