Veeder: Calm by day, but a wild man at night
My husband talks in his sleep.
To which I replied, “Enough of what?”
“Enough of those carrots. You keep putting them in the mixer and they’re flying out everywhere. You’re making a huge mess!”
“OK,” I replied.
And we both rolled over and went back to sleep.
My husband, in his waking hours, is calm. Reserved. Collected. Stoic.
The only thing I’ve ever heard him yell at are the dogs when they’re taking off at top speeds after a deer and that one time when a guy driving a random piece of machinery took a wrong turn and almost ran over our new culvert.
I know it’s not nice to laugh, but a brand new vein spontaneously appeared in his neck. Don’t mess with our culverts.
Anyway, besides those few select scenarios, my husband is basically eerily unemotional. Chill. Laid back. Reserved.
But in his sleep he is another man entirely.
Yes, in his dreams, he yells strings of words I’ve never heard him use together in his waking life. In the depths of the night, he’s mad at someone. He rolls over and makes a heavy dramatic sigh. He hollers at unnamed characters.
He curses, words flying from his mouth that stand alone in the quiet, dark night of our room, flinging my eyes open and reaching my arm to his back to tell him, ‘Shhh, shhh, it’s OK.”
He’s upset. He’s frustrated. He’s loud.
He’s completely and utterly out of it.
I’ve shared a room with this man for a while, and I can tell you that if an elephant opened the door to our room to sit on the end of our bed and clean his toenails, my husband wouldn’t even stir.
Once, when we lived in town, someone threw a construction cone at his car parked on the street, setting his car alarm off and scaring me enough to whack him on the back and send him out the door and on the street before he woke up under the lights to realize he was in nothing but his underwear.
Yes, the man can snooze. And sometimes he rolls over to tell me about how delicious the pineapple tasted in his dreams. Or that he made it to the top of a mountain in time to catch the goats. You know, normal sleep-talking subjects.
But his sleeps never used to be angry. No. This new phenomenon crept into our lives a few years ago, in the middle of the night, sending me shooting out of bed and dangling from the light fixture in terror.
A traumatizing event for me, but an angry dream he will never remember.
I’m beyond analyzing this, except to come to the conclusion that this stoic man of mine, this even-tempered rock sleeping next to a woman who has been known to have countless emotional and similarly loud outbursts of joy, anger, pain or excitement in her waking hours, has to find a way to let go somehow.
Because, wild dogs, culvert guy and being forced to watch the Academy Awards excluded, this man is pretty steady.
So sleep it out, my man. Tell the world to — well, you know what — while you rest in the safety and oblivion of your deep slumber. Those words from your mouth don’t scare me.
Actually, I’m happy to hear them and am perfectly fine with the booming of your voice waking me in the night.
Because sometimes, when I’m all worked up, arms, tears squeezing out of my eyes and you say to me “Don’t worry. It’s fine. It’ll all work out,” I worry that you holding this puddle of a woman together in this puddle of a world might be a quiet burden you don’t need to bear so softly.
So yell into the quiet night when no one can hear you but me so I can wake up and smile, roll over and touch your back, knowing that in this life all things find balance — in their own way.
Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband on a ranch near Watford City. Readers can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.