Things got better for a while, thanks to my good friend Southern Comfort. I was able to break through whatever it was keeping me awake and actually get some real rest at night. Whatever cycle I had been experiencing was over, apparently.
At least, that's what I thought.
It was a Sunday like many other Sundays. The cars started. It rained but we didn't get water in our basement. The dog didn’t run away. Dinner was good. Nothing earth shattering.
However, Sunday night around 10:30 p.m., my husband and I kissed each other good night, as we always do, cuddled for approximately 10.7 seconds until it got wayyyy too hot, and then turned over to our respective spots. I hadn't even given my sleeplessness a thought. I burrowed further into the covers.
And laid there. A half hour went by. I knew my husband was awake. He knew I was awake too because he says my eyes make a sound when I blink.
We laid there some more. And laid there. Another half hour went by and…
…we’re still awake. And I’m thinking, what the hell?
I get up and pee to break the monotony. I am quiet and careful, reluctant to jostle my husband or bounce the bed. I know where the squeaky floorboards are and avoid them, drawing on years of experience with fretful babies and a father who worked midnights. I don't use any lights, even in the bathroom. I climb back into bed with the stealth of a ninja.
Having taken care of that, I snuggle back down. I think, any time now I’ll fall fast asleep. I close my eyes and try to count sheep but end up mentally composing a story about them instead.
I hear my son come in at midnight. He doesn't wake me up because I'm not asleep. He knows after years of sneaking in how to hold the bells on the door so they don't make a noise when he opens it. He too is familiar with the floorboards and is able to avoid the squeaky ones. He pees and goes to bed.
Now my husband gets up to pee. He is not silent and careful like I am. He was a bachelor for 45 years and never had to be quiet for a sleeping wife or child. Everyone knows he's up because he uses every light he can on the endless ten foot trip to the bathroom. He has owned the home longer than my children have drawn breath and yet doesn't know the path to take on the wooden boards to avoid making excess noise.
He stomps back to our room and swings himself back into bed like an orangutan, then proceeds to thrash around on the bed trying to get comfortable. Good God, I think. He moves more than a kid in a bouncy house.
Unbelievable. I wait until he is settled and I blink several times in a row, loudly, in retaliation.
Shortly after he gets back to bed, my daughter is up. She has inherited her mother's ability to walk catlike in a sleeping household. She also has inherited her mother's sneakiness and I know she's going outside to have a cigarette. She is fooling no one. She too knows to hold the bells on the door as she comes back in and creeps back to her room, stopping in the bathroom, also to pee.
Ok, I think. Now that we’ve all ensured there would be no bedwetting, we’ll all get to sleep.
Husband whispers to me. "Are you awake?"
I whisper back. "Yes, what’s the deal with this? I’m so tired and I just can’t fall asleep! Is there some giant geometry test I didn’t study for? A project I didn’t turn in? Because the only time I can’t sleep is when I’m fretting. And for the life of me, I don’t have anything to really fret about."
Husband whispers again. "I can’t sleep either! And I think Annie is smoking!"
No shit, Sherlock, I think. Only for like six months now. Out loud, I say, "Gosh, I hope not." And then I think, why are we whispering, anyway? We're all awake.
During the course of the sleepless night from hell, husband ends up sleeping in the living room on his chair. I must be experiencing some sort of menopausal symptoms, as I am either freezing or too hot, and eventually make my own way out to the living room as well where I lay wide eyed on the couch for two hours, with a floor fan three inches from my face.
4:41 a.m. I haven’t slept at all. I briefly drift off and dream I'm in a wind tunnel.
4:42 a.m. Husband turns on a new age music channel on cable. It reminds me of the nightmare that was his deviated septum surgical recovery and I fight the urge to throw up.
5:00 a.m. We should probably just stay up. However, I don't come from a family of quitters. I get up and stumble down the hallway to the much more comfortable bed and that's all I remember, because I sink into the most blissful sleep anyone has ever experienced.
For about one hour. It's not enough. I'm so tired and frustrated I want to punch someone. However, it is at this time I smell fresh coffee.