A Sleepless Summer

“Jen-na!”

The lights were on and I was awake. I’d been sleeping on the floor of the bedroom I shared with my sister, where I slept all of that summer in 1999. I was nine years old and our great-grandmother had come to live with us.

“Jen-na!”

I got to my knees and peered over the end of my 12-year-old sister’s bed. My great-grandmother had escaped and was hovering over my sleeping sister. She poked my sister in the back as she repeated each syllable of her name.

“Jen-na”!

Jenna sat up and slid a leg from under the covers. Before my great-grandmother could speak again, she planted her feet on the ground. I stood up as well. We winced with expectancy at my great-grandmother’s nightly ritual.

“My teeth,” said my great-grandmother. “I can’t find my teeth!”

This was funny the first time. It later ceased to be.

“Did you check the cottage cheese container on the nightstand?” my sister asked.

“Yes, yes,” said my great-grandmother.

“Are you sure?” I said.

My great-grandmother sat on the edge of my bed, her blue eyes swelling with worry. She put her hand on her forehead.

“Jenna, where are my teeth?” she asked me.

I was Jenna now, too.

My sister and I began the nightly search of our bedroom.  Jenna combed through things my great-grandmother had brought to our house that summer, the same blouses with different patterns and the long strands of beaded necklaces. I searched the pockets of her floral housecoats that hung on the back of our door. Nothing there but lonely buttons and a thimble.

“Where did you wash up before bed?” I asked.

“The washroom,” my great-grandmother said.

“Which one?” I asked.

My great-grandmother stared blankly.

I was tip-toeing my way to the bathroom when I heard my sister scream, “Grandma!” I dashed back into my bedroom.

“Where were they?” I asked my sister, who was standing in front of the nightstand.

She turned around. In her hands was the open cottage cheese container. I walked toward my sister just far enough to see over the rim. I sighed.

I don’t think I slept at all that summer, but it’s not the sleep I miss.

Suzann Caputo

Next Post

Spirits of the Night

Thu Feb 18 , 2010
Ghost Mall really hates Slothbear, according to keyboardist Alex Letourneau. Self-proclaimed “summer drummer” Brian Deodat said much of the same about the other group in so many (more explicit) words, as did the “number one roadies,” unofficial band photographers and others passing through the narrow walls of 3A Church St., […]

You May Like

TWITTER

It’s almost the new year; time to pick up a new hobby! Alex Bologna explains the joys of bouldering and how to get started in our latest article. Read now! https://thelittlerebellion.com/index.php/2022/12/a-sport-to-reach-for-what-bouldering-is-and-why-you-should-start-climbing/

Stumped on what to get your loved ones this holiday season? Don’t just immediately turn to Amazon — walk outside your dorm on Thursdays and check out some of these local student businesses! https://thelittlerebellion.com/index.php/2022/12/a-guide-to-gift-giving-at-the-suny-new-paltz-market/

Every New Paltz student loves buying things at the market every Thursday. Ever wonder how you could set up your own stand? Sydney Rockwood gives you the steps to pursue your passions and set up shop! Read now ☀️ https://thelittlerebellion.com/index.php/2022/12/pursue-your-side-hustle-at-the-thursday-market/

Load More

INSTAGRAM