Curled up arms, head tucked into the couch, legs stretched across my lap. You read your Economist until your eyelids are heavy and your fingers loosen and the magazine rests in your lap as you drift into sleep. You say it’s a short nap as the clock nears midnight. I mention heading to bed, but you decline, so that you can still be near me as I write. It’s your week off. Two more nights left and I am already recalling your weeks on…
It’s the first night back at work and the bed feels empty without you. I curl up into myself and thoughts keep my mind awake. It will take me a night or two to get used to the empty space next to me and then again to get used to you next to me once your night shift has ended. It is the same for you.
You come home early in the morning. The sun still sleeps and I wake hearing your key turn in the door. You set down the first issues of our favourite newspapers, spread out on the floor for me to see when I wake. You peel off your clothes, stiff from another night of work, and climb into bed. Sometimes you talk excitedly about the headlines. Sometimes you want me to wake and spend precious morning moments with you but I wish to continue with sleep and welcome the half hour I have before my alarm takes me away from the place next to you that keeps me warm and comforted.
It’s the weekend. I walk into the bedroom to retrieve something to occupy my afternoon without you. You sleep through the day. The sun rises and sets and your breath slows as you find yourself in dreams. Speaking out to me. Sometimes eyes open but existing elsewhere. In dreamland. I play along and enjoy being a part of that world.
I wake you with espresso and breakfast in bed on Sundays. It’s already 4pm but with your schedule breakfast finds you later than those not working night shift. During the week, I prepare dinner and allow the scent to waft into the bedroom and kiss you awake. You groggily pull me into a tight embrace. I love these moments, even when I pretend not to because I am hungry and have missed you all day.
You arms reach out for me in the middle of the night, pulling me close to you. I have to pee again. I run, naked, to the bathroom and sprint back beneath the blankets in seconds, cuddling up to you, using the warmth from your body to reheat mine. I lie awake and feel your warm breath against my neck. I recall the dream I left and try to get back in or begin a new one.
Trying to get on similar sleeping patterns can be challenging. But we work hard at it. Because even in sleeping moments, we enjoy the time together. It’s amazing to recall the many nights we spent apart last year and suddenly seven nights apart with just short morning moments seem to make sense. Because we are together. And inevitably, that’s what matters.