My condo building is heated by an old boiler, and the warm air is piped through the walls to individual radiators. As a result, I rarely need to use said radiators. My condo is almost always warm.
I kicked the blankets off my feet just now, because they were hot and I can't sleep with hot feet. And then I remembered that the last thing I spoke to my grandmother about before she died (less than a month ago) was hot feet and the inability to sleep with such. She had grown restless in the hospital bed; fretting at her blankets; pulling them up, up, up.
So I said, "Your feet are hot, aren't they? Here, let me do that for you, Grandma." And I adjusted the blankets so that her feet were free of them.
"Is that better?" I asked, and she gave the fainted of nods and her eyes closed as if in relief. The stroke had robbed her of speech, but her mind was as sharp as ever.
"I could never sleep when my feet were hot," I told her. "Of course, you know," and involuntarily my voice dipped low into conspiratorial tones even though we were alone together in the room. "When I was a little girl I used to have such a dilemma. Because, you see, I couldn't sleep when my feet were hot, but if I uncovered them I couldn't sleep because I was afraid something was going to grab me!"
She seemed to smile at this.
"What a time I used to have," I said. "Trying to work it out. Of course, it wasn't until not too long ago that I realized you were right all along and that there was nothing out there in the dark waiting for me, but you know how I hate to give up my fancies. I don't suppose I'll ever completely give up the ghost."
Grandma's eyes closed again briefly.
"You going to try to get some sleep?" I asked, and again she nodded and her eyes slipped shut. So I patted her hand to let her know I was there and said, "I'm not going anywhere, so you rest now."
Later I held her hand as she died. And just now, kicking the blankets off my feet, I remembered all of that. I imagine I'll always think of her when my feet get too warm for my blankets, and for a long time I'll cry when I do. Just as I am now.