Snuggled in bed with warm, soft blankets wrapped tightly around me. Only my head and pajama clad arms stuck out. Black coffee on the nightstand with curls of steam swirling in the air above my mug. Donut on a small plate beside me. Book open on my lap. Slightly yellowed pages are soft and densely packed with words ready to transport me to another time, another life.
Then I am lost. Bedside lamp gone. Husband’s snoring disappeared. The dog at my feet, nothing more than a sleeping foot warmer, forgotten.
I am a confederate soldier kissing my mama goodbye for the last time, marching north with my best friend. We are both 13, young, naïve, and terrified. Not even sure what we are fighting for, we leave to do our ‘duty’ and become real men. My best friend is shot and killed by Yankee soldiers…
The real world comes into focus like a slap in the face as I drop the book. My eyelids open and I try to finish the page, but I drift off into a sleep that lasts only a minute. The mug still sits on my nightstand. Steam long gone and the coffee is cold. My donut is stale around the edges where I nibbled a few bites.
I force my eyes to focus on the coffee. Sip a few bitter gulps, eat the donut. Anything to stay awake. What will happen to my confederate soldier without his friend? I dive back into the book, read a sentence, try to get through a paragraph, drift off again. The book falls, but this time I catch it with a groan and give up. The light goes out, I roll over and hug my dog who has scooted up beside me, and go to sleep.