Mamma stayed in bed again today. Papà says to let her sleep. He says five out of eight children isn’t so bad. Sister will do Mamma’s chores for now. And at least now, Papà says, I have my own bed. People come and people go. This is life, and we must move forward, for if we move backwards, we’ll just keep stumbling.
I suppose he’s right. But the bed seems much bigger than I imagined. I can’t possibly need this much room to myself. And it’s so cold. I don’t remember it being this cold. Big and cold, like the mouth of a monster. This bed might swallow me. It waited for me, waited until I was alone to suck me into its lumpy core. Because of my distrust, I fear sleeping. I think I’m dreaming. Or maybe I was dreaming. I want to ask Mamma, but she stays in bed now. I don’t know how long she will be. I could ask Papà, but I don’t think I want to know the answer.
I ask Papà what to do. He tells me not to think about it. So I try not to, but I didn’t know how hard it would be. Papà goes to work, comes home, feeds us dinner, then goes to bed to do the same thing again tomorrow. He does really well at pretending nothing happened.
Maybe I’ll be like him someday, but for now I stay awake, afraid the monsters will consume me.
Ashley Diaz graduated cum laude from the University of La Verne in 2014 with a degree in Creative Writing. She has publications with the university’s literary magazine, Prism Review, and has finished as a finalist in the Payton James Freeman Essay Award. She has also recently contributed to Worthing Flash.