This is an altogether too familiar scenario. Saying his name softly won’t wake him, nudging him gently won’t roll him over, and I’m grinding my teeth toward another tension headache because I’ve been duped. That good behavior of courting couples included silent sleeping on the pillow next to mine.
Those were the days of spooning, when every breath exhaled only love in that slow, relaxed exchange of oxygen for C02.
Fast forward a decade, and he snores without a care. Not the purring ebb and flow of a slightly stuffy nose, it begins as escaping puffs of compressed air, the far end of the heavy breathing scale. Then, sinuses clamp and crunch, and a rasping, grating gale gargles past the roof of his mouth with a decibel level rivaling the Medivac helicopter. He’s sawing enough lumber to put an addition on the house.
In the darkness, I feel for earplugs buried in the nightstand drawer – and can’t find them. And as I contemplate flicking on the light to look for them, it dawns on me this would make a great topic for a comic strip. But I’m too long-winded for five frames, and I can’t draw.
And I still can’t get him to roll over and direct those blasts from what should have been trumpeter’s cheeks away from my ear lobes.
The thought of debilitating injury tempts me.
I rouse him. “Excuse me for sleeping,” he snarls, cursing my selfishness for waking him. He tells me I snore like a diesel truck (not that it seems to keep him awake) – and to go sleep somewhere else.
In no time, I can testify that the contours of our living room couch are too soft, too short and too narrow for a comfortable night’s sleep. I’m more and more awake, and more and more frustrated about not getting the rest I need before another workday. I grow gloomy about the dark circles masquerading under my eyes, a more permanent sign of domestic bliss than my wedding ring.
From the floor next to me, comes more snoring, soft and slow from the snoozing pooch whose ability to doze off during those louder-than-civilized TV commercials I keenly envy.
A night owl by nature, I wonder how to make the most of what used to be my prime time. It’s too dark to weed the garden. I can’t imagine channeling enough energy to figure out which remote triggers late-night movies. Midnight meditation? It feels like too much effort to “just let go.” The backlog of email that never gets my attention comes to mind. I make a mental note to scour Craigslist for a longer, wider couch with firm cushions.
Then it hits me: I can use this time to vent. I take up a pencil and start to blur my frustration across a page…
With a wall between us and words pouring onto paper, my heart rate returns to normal. And it occurs to me that those hibernating-bear rumblings come from clean, robust lungs that, at a more decent time of day, belt out show tunes and call me in from the garden for a cup of hot, sweet, milky tea.
The clock ticks. I ponder, and eventually vow, on these odd occasions when I’m driven from bed, to retire to my study, cuddle with the cat and sip a quiet cup of tea with the stars.
So, I must thank you, sweetheart, for waking me up and inspiring me to make the most of this unexpected gift – of time.
Julie Ann Luoma is happy to share quirky conclusions drawn from life’s little dramas.