Monday, June 05, 2006

Monsters in the dark

In years past I would often have trouble falling a sleep at night because I couldn't shut my mind off. The minute I would go to bed I'd start thinking about all the things I needed to do the next day. And if I was stressed out about work, it was worse. Those are the times when I noticed the sleeplessness patterns the most.

But now it's different. For some reason I just dread going to bed. It's not like I hate my room, or my mattress or my bedding. I just hate going to bed.

I think the thing is that I hate going to bed alone.

You'd think I would be used to it by now. It's been two apartments, two different mattresses and two years since I've shared a bed with anyone. The funny thing is I've been sleeping alone again now for longer than my last relationship itself lasted.

I think I've put all the other baggage of that particular failed relationship behind me. The grieving for the person and the relationship itself has run its course. But I miss having someone to snuggle up with at night. Even on nights I had trouble falling asleep I would just lie there and listen to the person beside me breathing. Watching her sleep and listening to her breathing, slow was soothing, felt warm. Relaxing. In spite of myself, at some point, I would fall asleep.

We think of sex as intimacy, but it's always struck me as much more intimate, more a sign of trust, to be able to sleep -- literally sleep with someone. To expose ourselves at our most vulnerable to another. When we are asleep. To let someone see us at our gape-mouthed, snoring, drooling, hair-tousled, talking-in-our-sleep most vulnerable is a sign of trust.

I miss that. I miss having someone to snuggle up with. I miss having that special someone to wrap my arms around to make them feel protected with the truth is they are keeping my heart safe and warm. Even at those times where you want a little space like those nights it's too warm and skin on skin contacts is just to hot and uncomfortable to sleep. It's still reassuring to know someone is there, a few inches away, an easy reach when things turn too chilly or too dark. Sometimes we all need someone to chase away the monsters. The really scary monsters only come out at night, when the world is quiet.

It's pretty comical in retrospect. I used to dread sharing a bed with someone. Does she hog the covers? Do I? Will my snoring keep her awake? But mostly I like having room to spread out.

I remember one girlfriend years ago used to be a real snuggler and it drove me nuts. I needed a little space in order to sleep. Room to stretch and roll and toss and turn. I had been used to sprawling out all over the bed in my single days. But with her, there was no chance of that.

She had one of those old-fashioned waterbeds, with the padded siderails that surrounded a sloshing, bad of water that sent tidal wives across the mattress every time someone moved. It was a big bed, and we'd start out on our respective sides of the bed, but throughout the night she kept up the invasion of my territory and I would execute a tactical retreat. By morning I would end up sleeping half on the siderail and half down in the gap between the rail and the so-called mattress. Another person, or two, could have fit on the open mattress on the other side of that fucking, miserable bed.

Back then, I used to dread it when my girlfriend would tell me it was time to go to bed. What? Were we attached at the hip? Did we have to go to bed at the exact same time every night? The truth of the matter was I wanted some alone time. I wanted out of the relationship actually, I just hadn't worked up the nerve to tell her yet, or maybe even to admit it to myself.

And there were times in my last relationship I must admit I resented the whole going to bed at the same time thing. I was a night person and my ex was not. She could fall asleep literally as soon as her head hit the pillow. I used to think that was just an expression, but apparently some people have that gift. And I did see it as a gift. I was often jealous of her ability to just turn everything off and fall sound asleep so quickly. I've never been able to do that, not even as a child. Not unless I drive myself to the very brink of exhaustion. Anyway, I'd lay with her for a while and she'd fall asleep sometimes in the middle of a conversation. I'd watch TV, or watch her sleep, or both, resisting the urge to get back up and do something. Somehow my breathing would synchronize with hers. I would relax. And then, somewhere in the quiet, I'd fall asleep.

Maybe I can just get one of those baby monitors and find a woman who lives in range who will let me listen to her sleep. They even make the things with little cameras now, so I could even watch her sleep.

Or would that be just be a little too creepy?

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1 comment:

GRT said...

2:30 a.m.?!? Oy!

(Forget drooling and snoring, look forward to becoming the most efficient of all creation's methane machines. Termites? Bovines? No contest. Alas.)

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