My little one desperately needs a nap but isn’t inclined to take one. Who is more stubborn? His assent is grudging. We walk hand-in-hand back to our cabin, crunching the crushed stone under our feet. The sun is high in the sky; it seems hotter inside the cabin than out.
He wants to be held. Get away from him. He wants a drink. He doesn’t want a drink. He’s hungry, but not for this—he wants that. Leave his clothes on. No, take them off. I feel so stifled I can barely catch my breath and it is not only because there is a dearth of fresh air.
We lay down on the bed together. Eyelids drooping, he cuddles Piggy to his face and sucks the special thumb (the right one will do in a pinch but he prefers the taste of his left). The ambient light from the window spills over us. Every one of his downy hairs is backlit. I notice his muscles are bunched and taut in spite of our repose.
I grab the closest book and read out loud. After every few pages, I check, surreptitiously, to see if he is asleep. Each time, I find him surveying me steadily. Just when I’ve decided to admit defeat, his eyelids droop and he flips onto his side. I pause. He shifts around to meet my gaze. “More story,” he demands. I say nothing. He inhales. And in that moment, I hear him relinquish reality. He is tumbling into his dreams.