I have slept with many people in my life.
(I'm just waiting for jaws to hit the floor on that one, as I'm not a very forthcoming person when it comes to certain intimate details).
But, before I start to get concerned emails, spam about Viagra, or propositions (am I too old to be propositioned?), I should note that I am referring to the act of literally sleeping with others. Whether that be crawling into bed between my parents when I was young and roused out of bed by a storm, or whether it was in sharing a bunkbed in a steamy Indiana night at church camp with fifteen other prepubescent girls. Whether it was sharing a dorm room and loft with my college roommate, or under the stars with my ex-husband after watching a meteor shower.
Whether I slept in the closest of embraces with the men I have loved, or slept curled on my side with an infant cradled near my breast and a cat tucked into the crook of my bended legs. I have shared my bed with many a soul.
But, sleeping with my sweet R. is a whole 'nother country (to coopt the words of his home state). R. sleeps soundly, for the most part, or appears to. Often, he lies serenely with both hands folded across his chest, his graying head resting perfectly centered on the down pillow. When we first began sharing a bed, I worried at times that he had actually stopped breathing, so quiet and serene was his pose (he was in fact teased in college, as he had a reading lamp poised over his bottom bunk and would fall asleep in the aformentioned position looking not unlike a prepared body in a coffin, causing roommates to pause). Having a first husband who was an avowed sleep-talker, sleep-walker, and occasional sleep-preacher, the quiet presence in bed next to me was a bit disconcerting.
But, what R. presents in his peaceful repose (his front-stage, if you Goffmanites prefer), is not congruent with what happens inside his mind. For in his dreaming life, he is an adventurer who hobnobs with the rich and powerful and who travels far and wide.
Consider the encounter we had a few mornings ago as R. walked out of the bathroom, his razor still in hand, to report his visions to his observant wife, still in bed.
R: You know what I dreamed last night?
C: About apologizing to Richard Nixon again for how mean you were in bad-mouthing him?
R: No, not last night.
C: About eating barbeque with Michelle Obama?
R: No, that was a few nights back, she was really nice, by the way.
C: Was it Bono again? Did he remind you, once again, to "Be the beat?"
R: No, that was last summer.
C: I don't know, sweets. What did you dream?
R: Barbara Bush and I were singing, harmonizing actually, in a stairwell. Sort of like the stairwell in the Ad. Building at Manchester. We sang "Climb Every Mountain."
C: Barbara the elder? Or Barbara the younger?
R: Barbara the elder, of course. And it was really beautiful, there were phenomenal accoustics. It was quite inspirational actually.
Reader, what can I do? I have married him.
I've heard stories about porta-potty workers who, after R. complimented them on their clean facilities, gathered around him and sang their theme song in four-part harmony. I've heard stories about the gang members who taught R. their gang signs (gang signs which meant, obviously, "Two biscuits, and three pieces of chicken").
My hermit of a husband, the man who has never been able to afford out of country travel, the man who would prefer to watch rather than to act, this consummate dreamer provides me with constant entertainment. And each day, every single morning I marvel at the interior world he inhabits.
And delight that he sleeps with me.