sleeping with the enemy
I enjoy being home without Tom, for short periods of time. I have behavior that I save for Tom’s trips, like the cleaning out of my food cupboards (by mouth), and the voracious reading of the romance novels that Tom loves to ruin when he’s here, by snatching them from my hands and reading aloud the choicest bits in a pirate voice. It really interferes with the fantasy when he does that.
The thing I enjoy most about Tom’s absences is that I don’t have to share our bed with him. I read an article long ago about how sleeping in separate beds can improve a marriage, because most people experience more restful sleep when sleeping alone. I remember reading the article and feeling a frisson of recognition and the thrill of possibility, but I tamped it down because the idea seemed unworkable—mostly because I couldn’t afford two beds at the time. Aside from the practical aspects, the idea of getting married only to sleep apart seemed absurd. In some sense, I got married in order to obtain the comfort that comes only when you’ve locked down a warm slab of human who is obligated to sleep next to you.
My issues with sleeping with Tom are myriad. For starters, Tom seemingly lacks the bodily mechanism that regulates your body temperature during sleep. Which is to say that immediately upon falling asleep, Tom turns into a wood-burning pizza oven. If only he produced wood-fired pizza to go along with all that heat. I imagine some of the heat is a result of the fact that he insists on wearing tube socks to bed, no matter how warm the night, or how little other clothing he might be wearing. By the way, nothing says romance like tube socks.
If I’m not sweltering in his man heat, I’m freezing, due to the TJ Frankfurter. This isn’t that kind of blog post, and “TJ Frankfurter” is not a euphemism. Instead, it’s Tom’s signature move, where he tucks one edge of the duvet under him and then progressively rolls the duvet towards his side of the bed until he is rolled inside the entire down comforter like a wiener dog. His head sticks out one end and his tube socks stick out the other. I am left to fend for myself with whatever part of the flat sheet hasn’t gotten sucked into the TJ Frankfurter, and a spleen full of bitterness and resentment.
It’s easy to get bitter and resentful in your sleep when you have no blankets AND no pillows on which to rest your head. Our bed starts out with four pillows: two on his side, and two on mine. Each night, Tom wages some epic battle in his sleep where he is the hero, I am the enemy, and our pillows are the booty that must be wrested from my evil grasp. Apparently I am much weaker in sleep than when awake, because I lose the battle every single time. I wouldn’t mind so much if I woke up and Tom was luxuriating on all four pillows, but the worst part is that after stealing my pillows, he throws them on the floor on his side of the bed. I give and give, and for what?
If Tom could ring in, which he can’t, because this is my blog, I’m sure he’d say I’m no peach to sleep with either. My extremities get notoriously cold and the most gratifying part of my day is the high-pitched screeching that ensues when I stick my ice-cold feet on Tom as I climb into bed. He also thinks the soles of my feet are scratchy, but frankly, I think he’s overplaying his hand when he complains that my heels feel like daggers. The coarsest of sandpapers, perhaps. But daggers? Come on.
Anyway, it’s nice when he’s away. Right until I wake up, and reach for that hot bundle of TJ Frankfurter, and find cool blankets instead. Then I miss Tom, and wish he was home.
*Thanks to Finn for filling in for Tom in these photos while Dad’s away.