“Comfort” Rated G
We had traveled to a place of family but it was also a place not yet familiar to me. It had been a long journey for one as young as I was at the time. We had traveled across two states and one time zone and those that we had come to visit were one hour and one journey less weary than we were. My Mother was refreshed by seeing her older sister’s face. My Father was glad to be in the company of old friends who were eager to hear his stories and glad for someone to share their stories with as well. But my young eyes looked around and found nothing to relieve my fatigue in this place so far away from my own bed.
But someone noticed me and stepped forward to see that my needs were met. Virginia was the eldest daughter of my Mother’s eldest sister. Though we were cousins, she was a woman and I was a small child. Mature beyond her years and kinder than the modern mind can dare imagine a person to be, she intuitively knew that I needed to sleep. She had needs too – a homework assignment to type before morning. She reached out and my small hand was soon surrounded by hers as she led me up the steps to the single large, well decorated room that made up the upper portion of the house. It was cold that time of year and the roof was not insulated well enough to keep out the chill. Virginia told me that she was giving me her bed for the night. I was small enough that a couple cushions or pillows could have served as a bed for me, but she gave me her place instead. Where she slept that night, I will never know. She pulled back the blankets then lifted me. She placed me in the center of the large, soft mattress and I sank deeply into it. I was surrounded by the light scent of her favorite perfume – a scent that had become part of mattress over time. Virginia covered me with fluffy blankets and a comforter that made me toasty warm despite the cold autumn air that found its way inside that attic room. Somehow it seems that the blankets didn’t warm me nearly as much as her gentle ways and loving smile.
Virginia lowered the lights and went to the far end of the room to work on her assignment. I could tell that she took great pains to be quiet as she rapidly but lightly tapped away on the keys of her manual typewriter. I was tired – almost delirious, but I fought off the sleep. I was experiencing such comfort that I wished to remain conscious to enjoy it. A hard rain began. Above me was the rat-a-tat-tat of the rain dancing on the roof. Beyond was the tap-tap-tap of the typewriter. From somewhere below drifted up the quiet, muffled sounds of family and friends in conversation sharing a time of communion. I felt as if I was afloat in that layer between mattress and comforter in a sea of soft and pleasant sounds. I was barely conscious but also very aware of being loved, protected and cared for.
Time passes. Memories fade and are lost or distorted by time. That one night may have been the only time I ever spent with my cousin. Whether or not that is the case, the memory of that single night is all that I have of her now. But at times when I need it most, I can still feel that warm comfort and hear the distant echo of that tap-tap-tap rat-a-tat-tat. How I still love the sound of the rain as I sleep! Dear, sweet cousin, I never knew you, yet I did. Am I wrong to thing that you watch over me still?