On The 1st Day of Christmas The Lunchbox Shared With Me

...Sleep Domination.

Here is a short excerpt from the book I've been trying to get finished up. It's from a chapter called "Sleep Domination" dealing with the adjustment I had to make in order to get used to sharing a bed again after being married. The portion contained here is a little background observing my parent's own issues when it came to sleeping together.

... At times, the thought of never getting more than a few consecutive hours of sleep till death do us part troubled me. It made me wonder just how long before I either moved to the couch permanently or replaced our current bed with two twins. Then I thought about my parents. Over the course of thirty-six years, a virtually iron-clad marriage had been forged through all manner of ups and downs to include their sleeping habits. There was a legendary story in our family about a bad dream my father was having one night shortly after their wedding. Apparently, he was in an argument with a particularly difficult customer at work and in his unconscious state dad punched the guy in the face.

Unfortunately, the person my dad socked wasn’t the customer from his nightmare but my mother who now sported a nasty black eye. If that weren’t bad enough, the following evening they were to have dinner with her parents. Of course the I-walked-into-the-door excuse my mom used was so obviously suspicious it naturally earned my dad glaring looks from the in-laws with every bite of lasagna they took. Since then, mom has learned to sleep elsewhere whenever dad has a rough day at work, or watches war movies which trigger subconscious flashbacks from his time in Vietnam. But that’s not the only problem affecting their quality of sleep.

Even though my parents won’t admit to it, my sisters and I are agreement that our parent’s bed was an adverse factor affecting their relationship. For one thing it was only a double, making it the perfect size for landing a right hook or gut punch without over extending your arms. Doubles may be designed to fit two adults, but add a child and suddenly the occupancy exceeds that allowed by fire code. They make a perfect guest beds; however they are not intended for the long-term use by married couples, ones hoping to one day celebrate a fiftieth wedding anniversary anyway. Sitting at the breakfast table it was difficult for my sisters and me to fathom how our mother and father couldn’t recognize the mattress as the source of their crankiness and the ensuing bickering every morning. We have theorized it was pride and practicality that kept our parents from blaming their tiny bed and spending hard-earned money on a queen. The fact that they held onto that mattress well beyond its ability to function as a mattress at all only further supported that notion. The springs had long since lost the will to sprung, and the only reason mom and dad agreed to purchase a replacement was because the current version kept sliding down between the box springs and the footboard. Even still they contended the mattress was still functional.

“I’ll bet if we take it to the second-hand store in town we could get fifty bucks for it,” my mom claimed ever true to her thrifty nature.

“That’s not a bad idea, Hon,” my dad agreed. “That would offset the five-hundred friggin’ dollars we’re wasting to get another.” To dad, that figure equated to a six-year supply of Copenhagen snuff. “Makes me sick to think this one only cost seventy-five and lasted for over fifteen years.”

“Sixteen.” Our mother corrected.

My sisters and I rolled our eyes as we watched dad haul that wafer-thin piece of junk down to his truck and then drive off, believing someone would actually pay for it. Turns out the store did indeed take the mattress for a dollar fifty in store credit, only to turn around and sell it as area rug. But if my sisters and I thought our parents were finally upgrading to a larger bed, we were way off the mark as they brought home another double. The very next morning the arguing resumed, continuing until the last of my siblings finally moved out. At some point shortly after, we notice during calls home that they were taking fewer cheap shots while the other wasn’t on the line. My sisters and I also learned this coincided with mom’s new habit of sleeping on a futon in the guest bedroom. With no one to fill the role of nocturnal punching bag, dad began falling asleep in his recliner or on the floor in front of the TV. Today, they are the happiest couple I know. ...

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