If you know me very well you may know I have a problem sleeping with my husband. This was so embarrassing to me as I newlywed I often searched for newlyweds with a similar issue. Miserly loves company and all that. I just couldn't accept that I was alone in my suffering. Several times, however, I was greeted with odd stares and nervous giggles as I tried to explain how little sleep you get when you're married. My anguish was often attributed to some kind of extended foreplay or infinitely long pillow talks. Little did they know it was neither of those typical marital perks that were the cause of my insomnia.
I learned within hours of making vows, cutting cake, and stealing a secret first dance in the hall at our reception that I could not sleep with my husband. On our first night home we cuddled up under the covers, and I listened to Paul drift off within minutes. I admired his sweet wheezes and smiled at the wedding band on his left ring finger. I could feel the exhaustion from the excitement and activities of the day weighing down my body, so I took one last glance at my new husband and laid my head against his chest. I closed my eyes and waited for sleep to take me. It did not. Instead of sleep, I was educated by the sandman.
In the next two hours I learned I couldn't not breathe if my head was on his chest because I would subconsciously try to sync my own breath with his asthmatic puffs. I discovered I had an irrational fear of waking my extremely deep-sleeping husband which made shifting to get comfortable out of the question. I noticed that my husband was cuddly and came to the unfortunate conclusion that I could not sleep while being touched. I mean, like, at all. On the off chance I managed to escape all of these undesirables, I was instead accosted by hot morning breath or the smell of Axe deodorant, which let me know strong smells wake me up. Fantastic.
However, we had to leave the bed behind in sunny Anaheim, and I was back to my sleepless routine. Rarely a night passed that I was not awakened to an elbow in the eye, an arm around my waste or, heaven forbid, a deep sleep sigh of caustic fumes blown in my direction. I hoped, prayed, pleaded, and assumed that time would heal me of my nightly torment. Eventually I just had to start sleeping through it, right?
Fast forward to the present day, five years later:
After my children are tucked in their beds for the night I like to collapse on my squeaky mattress, nestle my face into my cool pillow, and adjust my limbs until I find that sweet, sweet spot of incomparable comfort. You know what I'm talking about. The one position of ecstasy that pulls you rapidly into dreamland. However, it is usually that very moment that my lips remind me they are a gazelle in the Sahara Desert, and just out of my reach is a chapstick waterhole. I then find myself at a crossroads. Down one path is greasy, appeased lips and a risk of undoing all the effort put into finding that perfect, perfect spot. Down the other path is comfort, sleep, and waking up with lips that appear to have gotten in a bat'leth fight with an enraged Klingon. The path I usually choose is the later because at the end of a long day, full-body comfort is my one true desire. That and sleep, of course.
Then, after finishing an episode of Sherlock, in shuffles the man in all his nerdy glory. He now knows I cannot sleep whilst being touched so he gives me a quick peck on the cheek before settling in on the opposite side of the bed. He is consciously thoughtful but subconsciously deviant. In a matter of minutes sleep takes him, and he begins his trek across the mattress in search of a warm body. Soon he finds me in that sweet, sweet melted position, and he rolls over to face me. The smell of sleeping breath brings me out of a heavenly dream to a dark and stinky reality. I am at a new crossroads. Hold down the fort and maintain my position while I lying awake in olfactory torment, or lose that perfect comfort with a possibility of more zzzZZZzzzs. I die a little inside as I roll away from the man in my bed and my warm outline in the sheets. Since I've already been forced to move I think, might as well put on that chapstick.