Posted by GIRL'S GONE CHILD | Friday, August 17, 2007
I haven't slept alone in five years. Not in my own bed. Even if husbands or boyfriends or significant others were out of town, I have never slept alone. I didn't even remember what it felt like until last night when I sprawled across the wide open space of the bed-sheets, testing the temperature of the left side of the bed, where Hal sleeps when he isn't out of town.
"It will be nice to sleep alone for once," I thought, before remembering that I hate to sleep alone, especially after a long day of working by myself. I want something to touch or talk-to. I need to hear breathing next to me. It is the only thing that lulls me to sleep. I flipped the light and wandered bleary-eyed down the hall toward the living room where the dogs were curled up together in their bed.
"Come on guys," I said. "Come sleep with me."
For years before Hal and I met, Cooper and Zadie slept with me in my bed. Children of a past relationship, they grew up sleeping with my ex-boyfriend, Jason and me. Cooper slept between us and Zadie at our feet and when we broke up and he moved out, they stayed with me and slept in my bed every night so I didn't have to sleep alone.
Men came and went. In and our of our lives but no matter what the dogs knew that when it was just the three of us at home, we would all fall asleep and wake up, together.
When Hal and I met, the dogs weren't allowed in the bedroom and over the years, have never slept with us in bed. They eventually stopped begging at the closed door and obediently slept together in the living room.
But not last night.
"Come on, guys," I said, once again. "Get up here. You can sleep with me, tonight."
But the dogs just stared at me confused until I pulled them up one by one onto the comforter.
Cooper (pictured above) cuddled up to me under the air-conditioner and Zadie went under the sheets, nuzzling up next to my feet.
I slept soundly through the night like I used to years ago, my Insomnia instantly cured by dueting doggy snores, my original family.
And I relished in the simplicity of sleeping beside animals, hairy and smelly and uncomplicated, remembering what it felt like to be a different kind of family of three, overwhelmed by what has changed since last we slept together. Different sounds. And smells. Different dreams and breathing patterns.