Miranda July stories make me think that any sentence my brain concocts could be the start of a story. Here are the things I make my husband promise and why I can’t sleep. The pillow is too thick and there is only one. It is too hot. My daughter rolls into me, snoring. I wonder about Miranda July and what kind of relationship she had with Madeleine L'Engle, if any, and why. Did she really wait on the walk outside L'Engle’s house for her husband to come home because he once told July she had promise? It sounds true enough, even if she calls it fiction. I know it shouldn’t matter, but I want it to be true.
This is the worst pillow ever manufactured even though this is the most expensive hotel on the lake. The pillow has no give. It’s almost as bad as having no pillow at all. I think that and then wonder if that’s really true. If I hadn’t already asked to change rooms, I’d go ask for a different pillow. I already asked for a different room because the room the fat man at the front desk gave us was on the ground floor, and the lock on the screen door was busted, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep if the screen door didn’t lock even though we are in Clear Lake, Iowa where no one locks their doors. My husband is not here, that is why the screen door must lock, though even if he were, he would probably have asked for a different room as well because he is a flight guy not a fight guy and would rather the screen door lock.
The fat man gave us a room on the second floor where the screen door doesn’t lock either, though it doesn’t matter because I don’t think a guy in Clear Lake, Iowa would bother climbing all the way to the second floor just to rape and murder me or even just to steal my purse. None of this really matters though, because I can’t fall asleep because of the bad pillow.
The moon is sinking into the lake and I am worried because I have to drive all the way to Omaha tomorrow without falling asleep at the wheel so I throw myself out of bed and go downstairs to the lobby and wake up the fat man who is watching late night television even though he is asleep. I tell him about the pillow and how it is keeping me up and how I have neck issues and how this is only going to put all the physical therapy right back to square one and how I have to sleep because I have to drive to Omaha tomorrow with the kids who haven’t visited their grandparents in two years.
He says sorry he doesn’t have any more pillows. I wonder how he can have sex with all that fat. I wonder how he got so fat to begin with. There has to be more to it than just eating too much.
He tells me to try closing the patio door and turning on the air conditioner. I tell him the orange crescent moon has set into the lake. He tells me his wife left him. I tell him my husband will be very upset when I tell him about the pillow situation and that he is a savvy social networker and will alert the world never to stay at this hotel because of the unsatisfactory pillows. I decide not to mention the screen doors that don’t lock. The fat man tells me he has sexual fantasies of stabbing women with forks, not stabbing to kill, but just to eat the extra flesh off them. I have nothing more to tell him. He wishes me a good night and apologizes for the pillow situation. I apologize for waking him over such a trivial matter that he has no control over and thank him, many times, and then walk back to the room to lie in bed, with Miranda July, waiting for the sun to rise.