Separate bedrooms not what you think

Sallie Satterthwaite's picture

“How can you find anything with that mess on your bed?”

“It’s not a mess. It’s newspapers. I’ve got to at least glance at them to see if I’ve missed anything.”

“Look at them. Look, this one’s from November. And folded laundry. Three books. When are you going to clean up this mess?”

“What’s it to you anyhow? There’s plenty of room in that bed. Shall we take a look at the mess you’ve got on the card table in the loft?”

“That’s a ship model, and I enjoy working up there. It’s the warmest spot in the house.”

“You think? I get along fine with the electric mattress pad on my bed, and the spa set at 104 degrees F. Go on out there if you’re cold.”

“Tempting. I just hate getting all undressed to run out there for 20 minutes and then coming in in a damp towel and getting dressed again.”

“It’s only about 10 steps from the bedroom door. You really don’t have time to feel cold. And when you’re out there soaking, the warm water is… is intoxicating.”

“Which is almost like driving drunk.”

“Aw, you’re getting to be such a wuss, I can’t even make a column out of your words of wisdom this time. Leave the downstairs bathroom light on when you go up.”

“It worries me when you are out there and I’m in bed upstairs. If you fell and got hurt, I doubt if I could hear you calling me. Assuming I’m still awake.”

“That’s sweet. But I understand. The other night, when all the previous snow and ice layers re-froze, I actually couldn’t get up again after I had to put my hand on the deck to keep my equilibrium I crawled to the screen door, finally, and was able to get on my feet.”

“What?”

“Everything seemed to go into slow motion. I think it took me at least 10 minutes to get from the spa to the screen door and pull myself up. The ice on the decking was like shards of glass. I was out there long enough to start wondering how long it would take to die of the cold in a damp towel….”

“That was dumb. Just plain dumb. Why didn’t you call me?”

“One, I didn’t want the neighbors to come out and, two, I was embarrassed to think I’d gotten myself in trouble I couldn’t get out of by myself. Plus, I didn’t want them to know we don’t sleep in the same bed. In the same room. Not even on the same floor.”

“Do they have to know? And why should they?”

“No, but they’ll probably figure it out. It started with that cough you had last winter and couldn’t shake, and you were afraid you’d keep me awake. I told you it wouldn’t, and that worried you too. Then I think we continued with this arrangement because we really enjoy the freedom it gives us.”

“Freedom?”

“Well, Dave, you worry so much about sleeping a certain number of hours, and I really don’t care what time I turn off the light. The best moment of my day is when I wiggle between the pre-warmed sheets on the bed and sense my tension easing away. The absolute best thing about semi-retirement is being able to say I’m going to sleep late, and then do it. You’re the early bird. I work better late at night. No blaring TV, no phones, no drop-ins, no interruptions if I don’t want them.”

“I can’t. I wake up at 6 o’clock and can’t go back to sleep, and I know you’re lying down there snoring away.”

“When I just have to get up, I apologize to my pillow and promise I’ll get back soon. One of the women at Curves said almost the same thing yesterday. She said, ‘I love my bed better than any other piece of furniture in the house. Every time I walk past the bedroom I tell it I’ll be back as soon as I can.’ I laughed, because I do the same thing.”

“Sallie?”

“What?”

“You’re pathetic.”

“But lovable. Can’t help it. Go cook us some oatmeal.”