Blanket

I don't use blankets
Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Every night when I’m finished dealing with the stresses of the day, I retire to my room and sit on my bed and read a book. After 12 minutes of reading, it’s lights out. I begin counting the seconds whilst staring at the ceiling. Soon enough, my eyelids slowly descend to cover my pupils and ship me into my world of dreams. That’s how my days end now. The highest number I’ve ever gotten to is eight hundred forty-five. That’s about the fourteen minutes, I’d say. Fourteen minutes to my dreamland.

My bed has no blankets. It’s a queen sized bed. It could be absolute zero for all I care and you still wouldn’t find me tucked in all cozy with “my blankie” or comforter. But what about the monsters at night? What about the things that lurk in the dark, waiting to ambush me? What about the creaking of the floorboards or the barely noticeable sounds that echo through the rooms? I’ll take my chances.

I wasn’t always this way. Growing up, my blanket was the impenetrable shield from anything outside it. It was the perfect sanctuary. Nothing could reach me within. As children, my friends thought the same, like you too. Sure, there were a few that may have required an additional companion for protection like the stuffed animal, or barbie doll, but the idea was the same. We wanted protection from the unknown. The dark. The monsters in our closets. The creatures under our beds. My blanket gave me all of that.

Then that night happened. Before I speak about that night, here’s some proper exposition.

I was out shopping at one of my town’s local stores for a new blanket. My old blue one was perfectly fine, but it had begun to show the wear and tear from years of use. After realizing that being in a fetal position just to cover my feet was uncomfortable, I relented and went blanket shopping.

I went to many stores but none of them seemed right. It’s not just a blanket. It’s my protector. It keeps me safe. It keeps me sane. Nothing I saw really connected with me, you know? I was just about to give up when I decided to give one of the local stores a try.

It seemed to be a family-run business, and as soon as I entered, the smell of citrus hit me. Taking a few more steps, I began to smell…cookies? Either way, it was an interesting fusion of scents. The store itself had relatively low ceilings and was really long. There seemed to be a mesh of quilts, comforters, sheets, and mostly rugs piled in stacks along the walls. The clerk at the register greeted me with enthusiasm, smiling warmly. I nodded my head in acknowledgment and asked him the way to the blankets. Aisle 8.

There was an assortment of blankets, varying in shades of green, gray, and blue. There was quite a bit of variety on them as well. The blankets morphed from being monochrome to including elaborate designs, and stripes, and checkered with multiple splotches of blue and green. I was about to turn around, accepting the fact that my baby blue would have to suffice when I noticed an obnoxiously orange colored blanket on the shelves. It really stood out in the sea of grays and blues and greens. I tugged it from the stack of blues it was sandwiched between. It was perfect. What a mistake that was.

The color was off-putting, but nonetheless, I felt I had a real connection with it. Happy with my pick, I ran back to the register and paid for the blanket. After a round in the wash, the blanket was ready to assume its place on my bed. My old serene blue blanket had done its job. The overwhelming nostalgia is why I’d store it in my closet. Big mistake.

The orange blanket was eye-catching, to say the least. It commanded the most attention in my room as it quite a contrast from the light blue walls, beige ceiling, and carpeted floor. Nevertheless, I thought I’d found something special, something lasting. I was wrong.

The first night was the best. I felt like I was in a toasty estuary, free from the chilly air from the bedroom. I dreamt of the beach. My toes sifting through the warm sand. The salty air brushing my face. The pleasant scent of toasted almonds lightly drifting in the air. I almost felt bad when I woke up.

The second night was where things started getting, let’s say, wonky. I was wrapped snugly in my blanket and I even fell asleep. But this time, I was interrupted from my slumber when I felt the cover tighten over me. It was surreal. It felt as if the blanket suddenly gained a couple hundred pounds and was crushing my body. I struggled for a good ten seconds trying to push it up before it suddenly lost its tensile strength. It’s weird to describe. I guess it’s like taking a really deep breath, holding it, and then letting go? That’s the closest I can get to describing that.

The third night got even weirder somehow. The blanket was alternating between hot and ice cold. It was scaldingly hot one second and then switched to ice the nice. Nightmare or not, I flung the orange nightmare off and grabbed my old blue blanket. When I turned on the lights, I didn’t see any burns or anything concerning. I chalked it up to the long hours I’d been working. Sleep deprived mind going off the rails and what not.

I’m not stupid. I’m trying not to be one of those dorks from the movies, so the next morning, I took the orange blanket out and burned it. I even put a ring of salt around it as it burned (you know, for good measure). Why did I even buy that blanket? I don’t even like the color orange!

The week after, I slept perfectly fine. My old blanket, as worn as it was, kept me happy. It covered my head, and I didn’t mind my legs getting cold. It also gave me solace from the creaking house, and thumps from the attic.

Eight days after I’d burned the orange blanket, another strange thing happened. I’d gotten home from work, and smelt something burning. So I checked my room and I saw my FREAKING bed was on fire. Well, my bed wasn’t on fire. It was my blue blanket. It wasn’t even actually burning anything and it vanished as soon as I got near it. That was really strange, so I did what any reasonable person would do and threw my blue blanket out. Although we went way back, I wasn’t taking any chances.

So I’m back to the present. I have no blankets, and I sleep on my bed as is. I’m pretty sure blankets aren’t supposed to catch fire or try to squeeze you to death when you’re sleeping. I’d rather take my chances with my house than buy another blanket.

It’s been a month since the whole blanket incident started, and I’m getting used to sleeping without one. Good riddance! Although, I can’t say everything’s perfect. I feel like my bed is sinking. I didn’t notice it as first, but I did when I was counting last night. And when I did fall asleep, I had a nightmare. I thought I’d sunk into my bed, and I had been lost within it. It took all my strength to get out, and I collapsed on the floor wondering when the nightmare would be over. I wasn’t dreaming. It was then I realized, it wasn’t the blanket. It was the bed.

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