|"Take a picture of the bed," she said. Her voice was saucy but her eyes soft and dreamy.|
"What?! You're kidding, right?" We'd only been married a few days and granted, the bed in question was our "honeymoon bed," but a picture? Of a pile of twisted sheets lying in a heap at the foot of the bed, half on the floor? "Anyway, the camera's in the car."
She sighed, and there was a hint of a pout on her lips, which I kissed. "There will be plenty of beds," I whispered, before gently sucking her lower lip into my mouth and then pulling away regretfully. The front desk had already given us a "courtesy call" once. We were supposed to have checked out ten minutes ago.
We gathered the last of our luggage and as I pulled the door closed behind me I glanced one last time at the messy bed. She was right, of course. It was a beautiful sight. And one I would hold in my mind ten years later when it seemed that all we did was fight in bed. Two kids running around all day doesn't bode well for privacy, and by the time they're all tucked in for the night I turn around and she is, too. Me, I'm alone for the first time all day and I relish the quiet house. I eat a little snack, maybe read a bit, sometimes watch TV. When I finally come to bed I end up waking her up, no matter how hard I try to be quiet and to not move the mattress much.
The angry sigh is what I hear first. "You know how tired I am after being home with the kids all day!" She has a point, I know. But I work hard, too, and I need to wind down a bit before coming to bed. We have this fight almost every night and it sometimes stops there with her rolling over in exasperation and turning her back to me, at which point I hardly dare to breathe until I hear her breathing become slow and regular and sense her body relaxing into sleep.
How can two people be so intimate and yet so far apart? In the dark I can tell the exact moment that she is officially asleep. She can tell even in her sleep that I am not in bed yet; her first sleep, the period before I come in and accidentally wake her, is tense and watchful. Like how a cat sleeps, one ear always alert for sound.
The nights that the fight doesn't end there are the nights when the entire bed, or even the bedroom, seem poisoned with anger and resentment. You never, I always, you always - all those phrases the therapists say to never use, they all come tumbling out upon that bed.
But not always. Sometimes I come to bed and remember that first bed, hold its image in my mind, and I calmly listen to her reproaches and hear only how tired she really is and how differently life has turned out from what she'd expected, and I listen and pull her into my arms and sometimes I think she can read my mind and see that sweaty and touseled bed, too, and she lets me finish that kiss from long ago.