I slept alone last night—in my own luxurious queen-size bed. The bunk beds at the Pigeon Point Hostel are twin-size except for the one in the room that housed our retreat leaders. Of the three rooms in the Whale House cabin, two had three sets of bunk beds and one had a queen on the bottom with a twin on top. I heard the two retreat leaders flipped a coin for the queen.
I didn’t have to flip—hardly anybody in the group wanted a top bunk. My knee-jerk reaction to claiming the top came from the little girl in me that went to Camp Mikan some sixty years ago – before I was a night pee-er. The only other top-bunker in my room announced that she was a night pee-er and would probably make some noise going down the creaky wooden ladder. And she was only twenty-nine. She took the bunk directly across from the bathroom. I didn’t say a word vowing to myself I would not get up in the night. The lady sleeping in the bunk beneath me was the President of the writing group I recently joined – Romance Writers of America! The PRESIDENT! No way was I going to wake her up in the middle of the night. I would hold it until the cows came home! And pray she got up before me.
With five women sleeping in a pitch-black room overlooking the Pacific ocean, I was amazed at how quiet it was after lights out. I didn’t hear any tossing or turning. I didn’t hear any breathing, let alone snoring. I had brought extra pillows so I could cocoon myself in my bunk as I do at home only in the top bunk it was way tighter. I was conscious of the lady in the bunk beneath me only because I saw her get in there. I did not hear anything except the crashing of the waves on the rocks below my slightly open window. There were moments when it was so quiet I wondered if everyone had somehow sneaked out and were partying in the kitchen without me. I was afraid to look so I just hypnotized myself back to sleep waiting for the dawn and the cawing of the morning seagulls.
I programmed my mind to be very still and quiet. Okay, that, along with a hefty serving of red wine, and a couple of those pills from the Dollar Store. Such a deal – you get thirty “Sleep-Aids” (which I’m pretty sure is just Benedryl) for a buck. That comes down to 3.3333333 cents a pill. I take two, so for under seven cents, I’m out. I managed to hunker down and not have to navigate the ladder once since most of my roommates were up by six. Once the coast was clear, I scampered down that ladder like an iguana running across a hot tin roof, made a beeline for the potty and called it good!
The slumber party is over now. I slept in my own bed in my quiet apartment. I heard my upstairs neighbor creak across my ceiling a couple of times in the night. I imagined she was in the bunk above me and I welcomed the sound of her footsteps across the floor. I know there she is alive and well. If she wasn’t I would have heard our agreed upon signal: “Knock three times!” and then I would bolt upstairs to her rescue.
During our four-day stay not only did we spend hours learning new writing techniques, sharing resources for publishing our books, swapping names of good cover designers, but we also had silly fun! We danced with our shadows on the beach at night, we named constellations and searched for shooting stars. We shared spooky tales while soaking in the hot tub overlooking the crashing waves. We even sang together. It started out slowly while star-gazing in the hot tub. “Stars shining bright above you…” When yours truly, the Muppet singer, launched into an eye-rolling rendition of “California Dreamin’ ” the group decided to call it a night!
People say, “Writers are weird.” To that, I say, “Thank you!” And write on, fellow Pigeon Point Retreaters. Same time next year? Will I still choose the top bunk? Probably!