Each fan has its own sound: a whir, and/or subtle pulse as its blades rotate against the air; the fan in our bedroom in the city is high pitched but the sound is still and constant.
The fan in our room in the country house, a huge wooden thing that wobbles threateningly above our bed makes almost no sound at all, but those ceramic knobs that hang at the ends of swirling brass ball chains clack together in its breeze.
The ceiling fan in the room where I grew up, is-- like the fan in our bedroom, white, metal, modern and efficient: meant to stir the sub tropical air so that it seems cooler than it is, and it makes a mighty roar that's hard to tune out.
In bed in the city, we lie parallel to one another, exhausted and chasing dutiful sleep; your foot seeks out mine to make sure I'm there to pull you out of bad dreams. Next to me, you breathe deeply, while I, awake, listen to the neighbors upstairs, the birds out front, and the fan's steady beat.
In the country, we curl around one another; the mattress' sag like a black hole pulls us together towards its center. Here, the mountain air is fresh and cooler at night; it almost feels like we can drink it, stirred and unstilled as it is by those wooden blades, and we sleep as if dead: deep and restful.
In the room of my youth, the thick sub-tropical air is heavy and wet; I stare at these familiar bookshelves, now all but emptied. A small white plastic TV is on in the corner, an unfamiliar channel just loud enough to be white noise to beat away the loneliness. I lie on this futon and reach out my own foot, but find only drywall where yours should be. The fan sings its incessant wail, reminding me of where I am.