Since some of you resonated with my lack of sleep story the other day, I thought I would follow that up with something about my lack of sleep. Most of my insomnia is caused by my own devices. Too much coffee late at night. Which means one cup any time after the sun sets. Pizza that stays with me too long. An over active mind at 2AM, which is aggravating when I’d really rather have an active mind at 2PM. But at 2PM, I’m thinking about how sleepy I am.
At other times, the problem is the woman who sleeps next to me. She is going to kill me for this. But I’ve known her for a long time and she will forgive me after she kills me. She would rather not be a part of any of my stories. And, so, I include her.
Sometimes it’s her dreams that keep me awake. Like last night. At 3:38 in the morning, right in the middle of some very fine sleep, she started flailing at my pillow like there were wasps swarming around our heads.
“Hey. What’s up? You okay over there?”
“Huh?” she says.
“You just swatted me. Everything alright?”
“Yeah. I’m fine. Did I hit you?”
“No. But you came close enough to scare the be-jeebies out of me. What were you dreaming about?”
“That wasn’t nothing.”
“Go back to sleep.”
Which was near impossible. What if next time she has a machete under her pillow and the next time she starts swinging I become a victim? I know we’ve made it through more than 40 years. But you never know when someone is going to snap.
It turns out that in her dream she was mad. I won’t say at who. She picked up a heavy object and threw it at the wall. I have repaired sheet rock before at my own outburst when I was much younger and stupid. But this is something she would never do in real life. In her dream I was standing behind her. Clear of any danger. But in reality I was lying next to her and an easy target.
One time she dreamed that a little yippie dog was biting at her ankles and she started kicking wildly to escape harm. She was in panic sleep mode. My shin bone suffered minor contusions and I walked with a limp for 2 days. I’m telling you, her dreams keep me awake at night.
For 40 years she has dreamed about army men coming in through our bedroom window. I have no idea what that means. Her Uncle served in WWII. She grew up next to a military base. As far as I can tell, they climb in through the window and she sits straight up in bed gasping for air. I never get to find out what they want or what they are doing in our home. But she wakes me to ask, “Did you hear that?” Which I did not. Because I was asleep. And now I’m awake.
I have to say that she is always very apologetic for the trauma that her dreams cause me. It’s not like she sets out to disturb my sleep. She tells me that this must be the reason that some couples we have known have separate bedrooms. So that no one gets ambushed in the middle of the night.
Separate bathrooms, I get. We have separate sinks, not rooms. I keep my 5 things on the counter and don’t always clean up the whiskers that fall in that little space between the sink and back splash. Guys can be gross. She keeps her 43 things on the counter and because she’s out of room uses my sink and mirror to fine tune the days preparations.
But separate beds are not in our future. Rob and Laura Petry may have had them on the Dick Van Dyke Show, but not us. I’ll take my lumps. As long as I can get a few hours of undisturbed sleep before the Army men show up, or the dog bites, or I make her mad and she starts throwing things, I’ll be just fine.