A Bed Half Empty

December 31st, 2019

I woke up at 2:00 AM. The bedroom was preternaturally bright. That meant that there was something outside that was reflecting all the available light. That something was snow. The wind was howling outside the window. I could faintly hear the wind chimes in the backyard, making a wild, chaotic sound. It had a effect that was oddly pleasant.

I keep waking up in the middle of the night. Part of that I blame on working third shift for twenty years. Some things change a person permanently, and being on the graveyard shift definitely changed me. I think that my insomnia is exacerbated from sleeping alone. Since Karin has gone to Texas, I have had our queen size bed to myself, and I am not liking that.

I go to bed quite early (another effect of my time on third shift). Karin is a night owl. We do not necessarily spend many hours in bed together. However, I miss the few hours that we are lying side by side. It’s weird, but I don’t venture on to her side of the bed, even while she is away. I sleep on the left side, near the pile of books that clutter my nightstand. Perhaps it sheer force of habit, but I stay in my lane.

I miss listening to her breathe. When Karin is at home and asleep in bed, I can hear her gentle, rhythmic breathing. In the darkness I know that she is there, and at peace. During the last six weeks, whenever I woke up in the night, I heard nothing. Just an empty silence.

Karin probably doesn’t miss sleeping with me so much. I am plagued with night terrors, and those aren’t fun for anybody. At unexpected times I will scream and thrash in my sleep. Early on in our marriage, that would upset Karin, especially if I physically lashed out at her. Now, she knows to give me a not-so-gentle nudge in the ribs, and say, “Frank, you’re dreaming! Wake up!” I almost never remember the dreams. All I know is that, after I wake up, my heart is pounding and I am drenched in sweat.

I think I will go back to bed. I am still tired. At some point this morning, I will need to grab a shovel.




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